"The South African envoy said his country did not have anything against Nigeria and its people, stressing that only an attitude of healthy competition within the African continent, where each country will help the other to win in the area where each has comparative advantage will help to propel Africa to the place of pride and prosperity."
Stop the insult, South Africa tells Nigeria
Lagos: The Republic of South Africa has called on Nigerians to respect the dignity with which it handled the recent diplomatic skirmish with Nigeria, which led to a repatriation row of the citizens of the two countries. High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria Mr. Kingsley Mamabolo made this call at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry monthly breakfast forum hosted by the Warri Industrial Business Park, in Lagos.
Mamabolo said though South Africa would not diminish the apology it offered to Nigeria over the deportation of 125 of its citizens over issue of Yellow Fever vaccination, the haul of insults on South Africa and its people that has followed the issue is most unfair and must be stopped.
"We have deliberately avoided responding to any of these issue some of which entirely miss the point because we don't want the issue to become a tit-for-tat that will diminish the apology that we made. We understand the anger of Nigerians and before the officials who carried out the deportation did so, they should have escalated it so that a political decision should have been taken," he said.
He however argued that the rule which requires Nigerians to carry Yellow Fever Vaccination cards when going to other countries did not originate from South Africa but from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which classifies Nigeria as falling under the yellow fever belt.
"The Yellow Fever thing is not a South African thing; it is decided by the World Health Organisation. If you are in the list of the countries earmarked by the WHO as prone to Yellow Fever then other countries must demand for proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination from you," he said.
He explained that even south Africans, who were returning home to South Africa from Nigeria were also required by the regulation to carry proof of yellow fever vaccination, adding that Europeans and Americans who were moving from Nigeria to South Africa also needed this proof.
The South African envoy said his country did not have anything against Nigeria and its people, stressing that only an attitude of healthy competition within the African continent, where each country will help the other to win in the area where each has comparative advantage will help to propel Africa to the place of pride and prosperity.
Citing examples of healthy competition, he said not long ago Nigeria allowed and supported South Africa to host the world when the opportunity came for an African country to host the world football competition. He added that the same is now happening with the top World Bank position open.
He said South Africa is joining all its forces with Nigeria to support Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position, knowing that she is the African that has the qualification and experience for the job.
"We have picked up the pieces from the yellow fever issue and we have moved on but let us stop all the insults, " he said.