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'How would this be achieved?': Naledi Pandor on compensation for xenophobic attacks

International relations minister Naledi Pandor.
International relations minister Naledi Pandor.
Image: Alon Skuy

International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor said the looting and xenophobic violence that rocked the country was not purely directed at Nigerians.

Pandor, speaking to SABC news from New York, where she will attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, was responding to calls for compensation to be paid to the victims of xenophobic attacks.

“We need to really have a full assessment of what happened and assess where the particular harm was directed. An impression has been created that primarily the focus of the mob was businesses that were owned by Nigerians. This is not the case. Many South African-owned small businesses were the subject of the looting,” she said.

“It was African people and it was South African blacks, as well as black people from other African countries. All of it was wrong. So I’m not sure from whom we would seek this compensation because we have arrested 794 people.”

Many of those arrested were likely to be poor and unemployed, possibly foreigners from other countries. “How would this be achieved?” asked Pandor.

More than 500 Nigerians living in SA and fearing xenophobic attacks have been repatriated by air. They were offered cash, airtime and business loans when they arrived in their home country. Scores of foreigners also fled to shelters in Gauteng or opted to return home by bus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa sent high-ranking emissaries to reassure African countries after the outbreak of xenophobic violence, TimesLIVE reported earlier.

Pandor reiterated that SA regretted what had happened and would not tolerate lawlessness in the country.