5th Joint Defence Committee between South Africa and Federal Republic of Nigeria smooths over xenophobic concerns


A high-level delegation from Nigeria led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Mrs NuratuBatagarawa, was in South Africa for the two-day meeting of the 5th Defence Committee (DEFCOM) between the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria from17 September.


DEFCOM began as an agreement in 2013 and has since seen the countries appreciate longstanding defence relations with a defence cooperation agreement in place.


This year marks 20 years since the establishment of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between SA and Nigeria. The 5th DEFCOM is now expected to present its final report to the BNC which is scheduled for 2 to 3 October 2019 in Pretoria. Both presidents, Cyril Ramaphosa and Muhammadu Buhari, will be attending the BNC.


According the head of communications at the Department of Defence (DOD), Siphiwe Dlamini, more cooperation than ever is taking place between the two countries and military training is running successfully between the two defence forces.


When asked of what the recent xenophobic attacks and incidents in South Africa have done for the two countries’ relations, Dlamini stated that both re extremely understanding of the situation and that, “All foreign nationals are welcome in the country”. He went onto say that if someone finds themselves on the wrong side of the law, South African or not, justice must be served. Dlamini added that Nigeria was understanding of South Africa’s stance on foreign nationals breaking the law, and that ties between the two defence forces are stronger than ever.


Buhari is currently in South Africa and is set to be hosted by President Ramaphosa tomorrow, 3 October, to reinforce bonds between the two countries after a wave of deadly riots and xenophobic attacks, stated Ramaphosa.


Former cabinet minister Jeff Radebe along with a special envoy was sent to Nigeria to apologize for violence against Nigerians in SA and stated that he believes a demand for reparation from the Nigerian side will be a part of the agenda at the ninth BNC on Thursday.