South Africa: Calm restored after outbreak of xenophobia

South African President, Jacob Zuma

Calm has returned to Soweto and other townships around Johannesburg following several days of clashes between local residents and foreign shop owners, an official report said on Tuesday.

The violence was sparked by the shooting of a teenager, allegedly by a foreign shop owner, on Monday.

The rioting that followed resulted in the death of four people, including an 18-month-old baby in Kagiso.

No fewer than 80 shops, owned by Somali, Pakistani and Malawian nationals, were destroyed, while 160 people have been arrested.
David Makhura, the Premier of Gauteng province, has met with many foreign traders affected by the looting spree.

He urged them to register their businesses so that they could contribute to paying tax and cooperate with local businesses in order to share skills.

He also pledged that police would protect them and they should not seek revenge and break the law.

Meanwhile, the African Diaspora Forum, ADF, has written an open letter to President Jacob Zuma, saying government refuses to acknowledge the levels of xenophobia that exist.

“In spite of the escalation of violence over the past six years causing numerous deaths, the government has denied that there is xenophobia.

“And is always questioning the nature of this violence and attributing it to crime,” Forum chairman, Marc Gbaffou, said.

The ADF has called on government to unequivocally condemn xenophobic violence in all its forms, while public officials and politicians making xenophobic statements should be held accountable. (PANA/NAN)

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