Piracy off the coast of Somalia will spread to other parts of the continent unless urgent interventions are made to stop it, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe warned on Tuesday.
"If we allow such an illegal activity to fester in one part of Africa, we are sending an open invitation for it to spread to other parts of Africa," he told an African Renaissance conference in Durban.
The conference was attended by delegates from many African countries.
Radebe said that South Africa did not rejoice in the fact that the long route around Cape Town was being considered a viable alternative to the Somali coast, which was infested by pirates.
The revenue and status for South Africa should be welcomed, but it came at a loss to another African country.
South Africa believed that the whole continent should find a solution to the problem.
Although most pirate activity took place in international waters, a response strategy in terms of jurisprudence was needed, Radebe said.
The Baltic and International Maritime Council recently urged Somalia and other African countries to cooperate in fighting piracy off their shores.
In the first quarter of 2010, there were 20 actual and five attempted incidents of piracy and armed robbery registered in Asia.
From January to March, 18 pirate attacks were reported off Somalia, the highest number worldwide, followed by 12 in the Gulf of Aden.
Radebe said that there was an urgent need to extend technical cooperation to African Union member States.
"Those of us whose jurisprudence is advanced should be willing to give advice as to how others should improve theirs within the rubric of African jurisprudence," he said.
The conference was also attended by Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Addressing delegates, Dlamini-Zuma said that there was a need for Africans to treat each other as brothers.
There had to be an end to the mentality among South Africans that Africans brought problems.
"Apartheid created the situation where Africans were kept out and others such as Europeans and Americans were welcomed," she said.
Dlamini-Zuma said that she would love to see roads and railway lines linking all African countries to stimulate economic and tourism growth.