The much heated suggestive news that, the South African Government must have made a swap deal with Nigerian Government. For the repatriation of 84 South Africans, who were among the 119 victims of Synagogue Church of All Nations’ collapsed building tragedy, has got a response from the South African Government.
The report was made by South African newspaper, Mail & Guardian, on 28 of November, 2014.
The newspaper reported that Radebe (a minister with the Presidency) allegedly bartered with Nigeria to secure the return of the bodies by promising to ensure that an arms sale worth about R100-million, which had been blocked by South Africa, would proceed.
Responding to the report, a South African spokesman, Phumla Williams, expressed his disappointment saying: “Government places it on record that no form of bartering with Nigeria was conducted during the repatriation process.”
The Mail & Guardian reported that Radebe allegedly bartered with Nigeria to secure the return of the bodies by promising to ensure that an arms sale worth about R100-million, which had been blocked by South Africa, would proceed.
In October, the Asset Forfeiture Unit seized $5.7m that had been wired to Standard Bank in South Africa. Three weeks before that, $9.3m in cash was confiscated after being brought into the country via Lanseria Airport, north of Johannesburg, in three suitcases, by a delegation said to represent the Nigerian government.
The M&G reported seeing two letters written by Radebe, seeking to assist Nigeria get the weapons.
The South African Government was quick to clear the air of misconception surrounding the repatriation of the dead bodies and the Nigerian arms deal.
The South African Spokesman, Williams, said the M&G erred by using unnamed sources to publish an article like that. According to him, the news was good enough to discredit the repatriation process.
“Government is disappointed with the Mail & Guardian’s attempt to discredit the collaborative efforts of the South African and Nigerian governments to repatriate the bodies of South Africans that died in Nigeria,” said Williams.
“The Mail & Guardian report, which clearly holds no water, ignores the fact that South African citizens died outside our borders, and therefore we had to work within the framework of Nigeria’s laws and policies.”
That Nigeria needs arm to fight terrorism through the help of South Africa was not disputed by Williams, but he said such a deal could only be handled following due process.