The South African President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, made the declaration on Wednesday when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Ramaphosa told State House correspondents after his meeting with Buhari that their meeting focused on the Bi-national Commission between Nigeria and South Africa.
The South African President expressed regret on the killings of Nigerians in his country, which he described as a criminal act and noted that the good people of South Africa are leaving peacefully with Nigerians.
The report by Channels Television quoted Ramaphosa as saying that the killings were largely attributable to unemployment and abject poverty in the country and promised that his government was working hard to curb the criminality.
“So I want to dispel this notion that when a Nigerian loses his or her live in South Africa it is as a result of an intentional sort of action by South Africans against Nigerians. That is simply not true,’’ he said.
He noted that South Africa has a number of challenges. “One of the challenges is criminality and which is all pervasive.’’
President Ramaphosa explained that his country had in over a number of years been bringing down the level of crime in the country and working on a concerted basis to ensure that crime was reduced.
“The criminality that we have is borne out of a number of factors. One of those is unemployment amongst a number of our people. Twenty seven percent of South Africans are unemployed, which amounts to about nine million and most of these are young people,” he said.
According to him, poverty is still all pervasive in South Africa and all this emanates from “our very said history of Apartheid misrule”.
“There is still inequality in South Africa; a few people are extremely very rich and the majority of the people are very poor. And all these factors and others, and there are many other social factors that have contributed to the high levels of crime,” he added.
The report said that President Buhari thanked his guest for the visit, saying that he was studying the African Free Trade Agreement with a view to signing it soon.
It added that following the visit, officials of Nigeria and South Africa are to work together in preparation of the next Bi-national meeting between both countries scheduled to hold later this year in South Africa.