President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again attempted to assure African leaders that South Africans were not opposed to the presence of foreign nationals in the country. Picture: GCIS/Siyabulela Duda

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again attempted to assure African leaders that South Africans were not opposed to the presence of foreign nationals in the country.

Ramaphosa was leading a delegation of the South African government at the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Sandton, Johannesburg. The forum was also attended by other heads of state, including Rwandan president Paul Kagame and Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo.

Speaking during a panel session which he shared with Kagame and Akifo-Addo, Ramaphosa said things had settled down in the country.

“I was very pleased that (Nigerian) president Mohammed Buhari did not cancel his state visit to South Africa in the wake of what happened.  He still came, sat down and we discussed this in a very pleasant manner and we decided that we are going to set up an early warning mechanism  that will give us any indication of anything that could go wrong,” he said.

Being the continent’s most industrialised economy, South Africa is aiming to capitalise on the success of the AIF as it seeks to promote trade and investment among African continents and break down barriers.

Some countries have, however, slammed South Africa after the wake of the violence, with some threatening to evict SA businesses from their territories.

Ramaphosa said he had sent envoys to assure other African countries that there was no antagonism and xenophobic attitude against immigrants but insisted that immigrants had to be legal and documented.

“SA is home to all. We want people to feel comfortable and safe in being in SA, but of course there has got to be processes that have to deal with them being regularised and permitted with the necessary permits, which happens in all other countries. But one: SA is not xenophobic and two, SA is open to other people from other countries,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the government was working on ensuring more tolerance and acceptance of African foreign nationals by South Africans.

“We have got to take steps that South Africans  have greater appreciation of people from other countries and that we are not an island. In the country that we are, we were also supported in the struggle by other countries on the continent,” Ramaphosa said.

Political Bureau