National 22.1.2015 08:25 pm

Soweto attacks “xenophobic”

FILE PICTURE: Members of the police guard a shop owned by foreign nationals after residents looted its contents, 21 January 2015, in Braamfischerville, Soweto. Residents have been targeting foreign owned shops in the area following a shooting incident in Snake Park, near Dobsonville where a foreign national allegedly shot dead a teenager who was trying to rob the shop. Picture: Alaister Russell

FILE PICTURE: Members of the police guard a shop owned by foreign nationals after residents looted its contents, 21 January 2015, in Braamfischerville, Soweto. Residents have been targeting foreign owned shops in the area following a shooting incident in Snake Park, near Dobsonville where a foreign national allegedly shot dead a teenager who was trying to rob the shop. Picture: Alaister Russell

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has weighed in on the ongoing violence in Soweto, calling the attacks “xenophobic”. 

“The attacks form a pattern similar to that which preceded the 2008 xenophobic violence that engulfed many parts of South Africa,” Foundation Director Neeshan Balton said in a statement on Thursday evening.

“We consider these attacks to be xenophobic and condemn them as such.”

Police have had running battles with youngsters looting and destroying shops owned by foreigners since Monday night.

More than 80 shops owned by Somali, Pakistani and Malawian nationals have been destroyed.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant – General Lesetja Mothiba and MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane denied the attacks which have left at least two people dead were xenophobic. Instead they have blamed criminal elements within the community for the violence.

No South African businesses have been targeted.

“We urge all community leaders to rally residents around the ideals upon which our Constitution and democracy is founded. There should be a fundamental respect for human life and property, without discrimination,” Balton said.

Police have made 68 arrests since the start of the violence, and recovered eight firearms, one from a looter and seven from shop keepers.

“….lawlessness, coupled with xenophobia, results in a toxic situation that would require more than just policing.

“We would welcome the intervention of civil society and government structures to prevent the situation from spiraling entirely out of control, and to assist in resolving underlying issues,” said Ballton.

To comment you need to be signed in to Facebook. Please do not comment by saying anything prejudiced.
We reserve the right to remove offensive comments.

poll

today in print