The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Wednesday said the South African government was not in support of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other countries.
Ramaphosa said this while speaking at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Afreximbank in Abuja.
He said one of the major reasons he chose to visit Nigeria first upon his assumption of office was to improve relations between both countries.
xenophobia is the dislike or prejudice against people of other countries.
There have been several of such attacks on non South Africans, including Nigerians, and their businesses in the last couple of years.
According to Ramaphosa, South Africans have been exposed to unsafe environment, criminality and a number of other challenges.
“And we have also had a huge problem of unemployment and people tended to react in a way where they want to safeguard their own interest and expressed their fears and concerns through xenophobic action on other people.
“Our government has been very clear and strong on this, we will not support anyone who seeks to attack anybody on the basis of their race, their origin or the way they look and we are very clear on that.
“In terms of safety and security, security institutions are now taking serious actions against people who result in criminalities.
“They are making good strides, they are catching the criminals and we trying to turn South Africa into a safe environment,’’ the president said.
He pledged South Africa’s commitment to support Nigeria in its developmental pursuit.
He said: “Nigeria supported us in our days of struggle and we are ready and willing to also support Nigeria as you continue to develop your own country.
“The two countries are joined whether we like it or not and we better make use of this opportunity that we have to improve the relations between us.”
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), Ramaphosa said the South African government was looking forward to the agreement as it had great benefits for the country.
He said the free trade agreement would enhance the growth of economies of a number of countries especially those in conflict.
He said: “Part of this free trade agreement will not only resolve the movement of goods but also the movement of people, as goods can move on their own; and soon we will have our own African DHL.”