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South African government condemns xenophobic violence

The African Report
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A metro police car leaves an area in Diepsloot after a night of attacks on foreign national-owned shops that saw shopowners leave the area in haste. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu
The South African government has criticised the spate of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng province that saw the shooting to death of two Zimbabweans by a Somali shop owner at the weekend.

Acting government spokesperson, Pumla Williams on Tuesday condemned the attacks against foreign nationals in certain areas of Gauteng and the Vaal.

"The government has noted with concern so-called xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals," Williams said.

"We strongly condemn violence, not only on foreign nationals, but also on South Africans".

Williams said government commended police for the arrest of "about 100 people associated with the recent lawlessness".

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Police confirmed that nine people were arrested for public violence and possession of stolen goods after a shop owner shot dead two Zimbabweans in Diepsloot south of Johannesburg at the weekend.

According to Lieutenant –Colonel Lungelo Dlamini a Somali business owner allegedly shot dead the two men outside his shop on Sunday.

It was alleged that the men tried to attack the Somali shopkeeper in his shop.

The man was arrested and charged with murder and would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court soon.

Opposition Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane condemned acts of violence or intimidation, but urged the government "to open its eyes" to the daily struggles faced by ordinary South Africans.

But the government said it would not tolerate any violence against innocent people and will "do all in its power to ensure that any form of violence is rooted out, and citizens live without fear of being attacked by criminals."

The attacks that started last week came as South Africa marked the fifth anniversary of the violent attacks on foreign nationals in 2008.

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa said in 2011, about a 100 people were seriously injured during attacks against foreigners.

It said on average one person is killed every week and over a thousand people were displaced due to xenophobic violence.

Meanwhile, according to the Times newspaper, the Greater Gauteng Business Forum, an association of small business, has told foreign nationals operating in the townships to leave the areas.

The group said they do not want any violence but warned that the situation is getting dire.

University of Witwatersrand's African Centre for Migration and Society said "there was a possibility that the nation would have to endure more of the xenophobic attacks that took place in 2008."

It said the attacks were coordinated at a local level.

‘Paranoia led Somali shopkeeper to kill’- IOL

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