Unfair that Nigerians blamed for SA’s social ills, says High Commissioner Bala

Under the banner of #PutSouthAfricansFirst, small groups of people marched from Church Square to the Nigerian Embassy, saying government failed to put South Africans first.

Civil society organisation leaders speak to Nigerian Ambassador Kabiru Bala and hand a memorandum over to him on 23 September 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

PRETORIA – Groups of protesters have demanded more stringent immigration laws, directing their anger at African immigrants.

Under the banner of #PutSouthAfricansFirst, small groups of people marched from Church Square to the Nigerian Embassy.

They said government had failed to put South Africans first and called for the mass deportation of illegal immigrants as well as the revoking of grants and other state benefits.

Various organisations, including South Africa First and Only One SA, handed over a memorandum of demands at the Nigerian Embassy following a march through the Pretoria CBD.

GALLERY: Put South Africans First protest in Pretoria CBD

Action for Change’s Nandi Gachwari said their demands were clear.

“We demand an end to human trafficking in Pretoria and, broadly, South Africa; the deportation of all illegal immigrants; the exposure of corruption in flawed Home Affairs processes that grant citizenship to undeserving foreign nationals.”

However, organisations seem to have opposing views regarding their West African counterpart.

“You must send out a message to the Nigerian Union to stop what they are doing. We will allow them to stay here, but…[interrupted by booing from crowd].

High Commissioner Kabiru Bala said while he accepted the memorandum, it was unfair that only Nigerians should be blamed for South Africa’s social and economic ills.

The organisations vowed to return to the streets if their demands were not met.

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