Naledi Pandor slams xenophobia: 'It's not a good characteristic'

International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor says xenophobia has no place in South Africa.
International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor says xenophobia has no place in South Africa.
Image: Sunday Times / Simphiwe Nkwali

International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor says xenophobia has no place in South Africa.

This after raids in the Johannesburg CBD uncovered truckloads of counterfeit goods and undocumented immigrants.

Addressing the media, alongside police minister Bheki Cele, Pandor said South Africa was not a xenophobic nation, adding that the country wants to play a key role in the development and maintenance of peace in Africa.

"We don't want xenophobia in our country. It's not a good characteristic to have," she said.

However, Pandor did acknowledge that isolated incidents of xenophobia had taken place  in the country from time to time.

When she was asked if any diplomats had approached her following the clashes between police and foreign nationals in Johannesburg, she said that they had not.

"Not one single ambassador called me, because they understood that was wrong," she said.

She added that no country could allow its police to be treated the way the officers were treated by the protesters.

"We believe no one should abuse this unfortunate tragedy to generate negative sentiments about South Africa. I wish to repeat statements made by police minister Bheki Cele - there is no targeting of any group of Africans in South Africa," she said.

Added to that, Pandor said, the recent call by a Nigerian student group for South Africans to be expelled from Nigeria and South African companies to be boycotted was reckless and unwarranted.

"I wish to take this opportunity to express my — and my department’s — concern regarding statements said to emanate from a student organisation in Nigeria, calling for the expulsion of South Africans and protests at South African-owned businesses.

"The protests are said to be in response to alleged killings of Nigerians by South Africans. As you are aware, these allegations are devoid of truth, they are reckless and unwarranted," Pandor said.

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