Five killed and businesses attacked in wave of violence against immigrants
Police in South Africa are struggling to contain an outbreak of violence against foreigners in major cities that has claimed five lives, ruined dozens of businesses and brought condemnation from other African countries.
President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the violence on Tuesday and said he was calling in ministers with responsibility for security to make sure that we keep a close eye on these acts of wanton violence and find ways of stopping them.
The people of our country want to live in harmony; whatever concerns or grievances we may have, we need to handle them in a democratic way. There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries, Ramaphosa said.
The violence started on Sunday when a protest march against drug-dealing by local residents in the centre of Johannesburg blamed on immigrants degenerated, with shops attacked and looted.
The violence spread to the nearby city of Pretoria, where mobs attacked immigrant traders, workers and shopkeepers on Monday.
More than 90 people were arrested after looting shops and damaging property in Johannesburg and surrounding areas, said a government statement.
There were further outbreaks of looting overnight in the poor township of Alexandra, in north-eastern Johannesburg.
Alexandras usually busy streets were deserted on Tuesday morning, strewn with rocks, bricks, looted goods and spent rubber bullets. Clashes between armed police and crowds of young men continued through the morning ahead of a scheduled meeting between officers and community leaders.