President receives Special Envoy report

Monday, September 30, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has received a preliminary report from the team of Special Envoys dispatched to deliver messages of solidarity to a number of African countries - following a spate of public violence incidences in South Africa earlier this month.

The team comprising former Cabinet member Jeff Radebe and the President’s Special Advisor on International Relations, Dr Khulu Mbatha, visited a number of West African states from 14 September 2019.

President Ramaphosa has expressed his sincere appreciation for the generosity of spirit with which Heads of State and Government of Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Niger received the Presidential Special Envoy.

The Special Envoys delivered a message from President Ramaphosa regarding incidents of violence that had recently erupted in some parts South Africa and which had manifested in attacks on foreign nationals and destruction of property.

They further drew the attention of Heads of State and Government to the sincere, public apologies extended by President Ramaphosa about the unfortunate events in South Africa, expressing government’s view that such acts of criminality and violence represented neither South Africa’s values systems, nor the sentiments of South Africans, particularly against foreign nationals living in the country.

“South Africa remains a multicultural society that promotes interaction among people of different backgrounds, and remains an integral part of the African continent as it advocates for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa.

“The country remains deeply committed to the values of progressive internationalism, and the ideals of pan-African unity and solidarity.

“South Africa further reaffirms the country’s commitment, shared by our sister countries on the continent, to foster peace and greater continental unity, and that South Africa remains committed to helping to a build a prosperous and peaceful continent,” the Presidency said in a statement.

Leaders of the countries welcomed the South African delegation, and expressed appreciation to President Ramaphosa for taking time to explain the situation in South Africa which had generated concern in a number of countries.

The Heads of State noted with concern the irresponsible use of social media by certain individuals to create confusion and tension in the public mind. They also raised their concern about the reported causes of tensions between South Africans and migrants.

A number of the countries, agreed on the need to adopt a common approach to deal with criminality irrespective of the national origins of the perpetrators.

In Nigeria, for instance, the point was emphasised that, in addition to the law-enforcement operations that the South African state has been implementing, it is necessary to strengthen systems in prison facilities to deal with challenges arising from some of the prisoners conducting their illegal activities from the prisons, even beyond the borders of SA.

In this regard, it is necessary, across the continent, for law-enforcement agencies, including intelligence agencies, to work together to deal with these challenges.

The Heads of State have welcomed the apology expressed by President Ramaphosa and pledged that the relationship between their countries and South Africa would be solidified, while describing the attacks as very unfortunate.

The President believes this positive reception provides a basis for building closer relations and addressing the situation in South Africa.

The Special Envoys will be dispatched to more countries over the next couple of weeks including the African Union. –