Media Remarks by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the conclusion of the Bilateral Meeting with Her Counterpart, Minister Geoffrey Onyeama in Pretoria, South Africa, 13 March 2017

Your Excellency, My Dear Brother, Minister Geoffrey Onyeama;

Honourable Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd), Minister of Interior of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Honourable Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs of Republic of South Africa;

Mr Martin Cobham, Nigeria’s Acting High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa;

Mr LLM Mnguni, South Africa’s High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Senior Officials;

Members of the Media;

Good afternoon,

We have just concluded our bilateral discussions, which have been characterised by the usual friendliness and camaraderie.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen;

The main objective of our meeting was to review our bilateral relations and cooperation between our sister Republics, and most importantly to provide the South African Government position and response to the recent incidents of violence directed at foreign nationals.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen;

During our discussions, we reviewed a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest. We acknowledged the historical and strategic relations that happily exist between our two countries.

We noted with satisfaction the continued exchange of the high level visits and meetings between our two countries. In this regard, we recalled the successful state visit of H.E President Zuma to Nigeria in March 2016 during which the Heads of State decided to elevate the existing Bi-National Commission (BNC) to a Head of State level, demonstrative of our collective desire to forge a special relationship.

We reaffirmed the anticipated reciprocal state visit of H.E President Buhari to South Africa during the course of 2017 on a date to be mutually agreed. In this regard, we also agreed to start with the necessary preparations for this state visit in order to ensure its resounding success.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Our discussions enabled us to further appreciate the vast nature of our countries’ bilateral cooperation which covers, among others, trade and investment, energy, agriculture, mining, defence, health, tourism, environment, education and transport, as well as science and technology.

In this regard, we further committed ourselves to ensuring that all the signed thirty four (34) sectoral agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU) are fully implemented.

We noted with great satisfaction the economic cooperation between the two Republics as evidenced by the increasing trade volumes, as well as private sector investments.

In this regard, we acknowledged the pivotal role played by Nigeria-South Africa Business Council in promoting and strengthening private sector participation in each other’s economies. 

We took note of more than 120 South African businesses operating in Nigeria in telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast foods industries. They also noted and welcomed Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as big companies like Dangote Sephaku Cement that are entering the South African market.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen;

I also used the opportunity of this meeting to brief Minister Onyeama on the recent unfortunate violent incidents affecting foreign nationals in South Africa, including Nigerian nationals.

In this regard, I highlighted the South African Government’s condemnation of these incidents, emphasised that no single death has occurred during this unfortunate period.

I reiterated South Africa’s condemnation of all forms of discrimination based on race, religion, sex or creed, including xenophobia or “Afrophobia”,

I further affirmed South Africa’s constitutional democracy which enshrines human rights, Bill of Rights, democratic values, human dignity, equality and freedoms.

I also dispelled the notion that these incidents against foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals only as other foreign nationals were also affected. I assured my counterpart that the South African Government was fully in control of the situation and several interventions including meetings with diplomatic community and émigré communities, security operations, policy and legislation reviews were taking place.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen;

We both condemned these violent incidents against foreign nationals and the destruction of property and reiterated our call for heightened law enforcement. We noted with concern the inciting statements or pronouncements including fake news pedaled by certain individuals, political actors and other interest and pressure groups. In this regard, we called for an immediate stop to this.

We agreed to continue to work together and enhance diplomatic consultation on this matter and many other matters relevant to the bilateral relations.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen;

We also used the opportunity to exchange views on the political and security situation in our respective regions and the continent. We expressed our grave concern on the ongoing instability in some of the countries on the Continent and condemned in the strongest possible terms the continued terrorist and extremist activities. To this end, we reaffirmed our commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and stability in the continent.

We also expressed our concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in some countries in the Continent as recently announced by the United Nations.

With regard to international issues, we reiterated our common view on the need to promote multilateralism and South-South cooperation. They reiterated our call for the reform of the United Nations Security Council to better represent the interests of the developing world.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen;

In conclusion, we reaffirmed the strategic relations that exist between our sister Republics and committed ourselves to working together to enhance close political, economic and social cooperation in keeping with a mutual desire to establish a special relationship between the two countries.

Honourable Minister, let me thank you and your delegation for visiting us and express hope that you enjoyed our warm welcome and hospitality that we extended to me.

I gladly accept your invitation for me to visit Nigeria for diplomatic consultation on dates to be determined through diplomatic channel.

I thank you

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
0084

 

 

 

 

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