Nigerians in SA are stereotyped as criminals, says NPO

Recent friction between locals and foreign nationals left 12 people dead, including 10 South Africans.

Air Peace flight attendants hold placards to denounce xenophobia as the first group of Nigerians repatriated from South Africa following xenophobic violence arrives in Lagos, on 11 September 2019. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN – As Nigeria marked 59 years of independence on Tuesday, many of its citizens living in South Africa remained concerned by recent xenophobic attacks.

In the leadup to the bi-national commission conference between the two countries, non-profit organisation - Nigerian Community Western Cape (NCWC) - said the change was needed.

The NPO briefed the media on Tuesday ahead of the conference, which was expected to start in Cape Town on Thursday.

The NCWC said it was tired of negative profiling, saying Nigerians in South Africa were stereotyped as criminals.

The NCWC’s acting president Cosmos Echie said while delegates engaged in the SA/Nigeria bi-national commission conference, locals should work with foreign nationals to mend bridges burnt by Afrophobia.

“Those treaties that are going to be signed, we are trying to raise our voices to say as much as Nigeria and SA have a relationship between its governments, it should also filter down to the Nigerian common man on the streets of SA,” he said.

Recent friction between locals and foreign nationals left 12 people dead, including 10 South Africans. The violence included the looting and vandalising of foreign-owned shops in parts of Gauteng, which led to hundreds of foreigners fleeing the country.