South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Thursday apologised to the Nigerian government after a spate of deadly xenophobic attacks in the country.
“We’ve reflected on public violence that took place in SA a few weeks ago, we express our deep regret,” Ramaphosa said during Buhari’s state visit to South Africa.
“The progress we made today is encouraging and lays a firm and strong basis for the future relations between our two counties,” he added.
Buhari on Wednesday arrived in Pretoria, South Africa, for a state visit and 9th meeting of the Bi-National Commission.
At least 12 people were killed during the attacks early September after 1,000 foreign-owned business were targeted.
Although no Nigerian died, the violence prompted reprisal attacks against South African firms in Nigeria and the temporary closure of South Africa’s diplomatic missions in Lagos and Abuja.
The violence sparked an international outcry and calls for a boycott of South Africa.
Nigeria repatriated more than 600 nationals to protect them from future violence. More than 700 people from other countries, including Malawi and Zimbabwe, sought refuge in South African community centres.
Subsequently, Buhari also scheduled a visit to South Africa to reinforce the bonds and to bolster trade ties between the two countries.
Buhari called on South Africa to take steps to ensure the violence is never repeated, stating that his “government has taken action to prevent a repeat of retaliatory attacks on South Africa businesses.”