“We strongly condemn violence, not only on foreign nationals but also on South Africans,” said acting cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams.
Violence between local residents and foreign nationals erupted in northern Johannesburg following a Somali man who shot dead two foreign nationals outside his shop, alleging the two men were trying to rob him on Sunday evening.
The shooting left many shops owned by foreign nationals and locals looted and some people injured.
Police said the Somali man was arrested and would face the charges of murder and attempted murder.
Williams pointed out that “South Africa is a democratic country that accommodates foreign nationals that are in this country legally,” calling for “South Africans and foreign nationals to live in harmony.”
“The South African government commended police for the arrest of about 100 people associated with the recent lawlessness,” said the spokesperson.
“Criminal activities against each other will not be tolerated as such acts would impact negatively on the country’s economy and image.”
Amid poverty and joblessness, an incident involving foreign nationals would possibly turn into an anti-immigrant violence in some neighbourhoods.
On May 11, 2008 some radicals attacked foreigners in South Africa under the pretext that foreigners were stealing jobs and committing crimes. Up to 62 people died in a series of xenophobic attacks.
Marking the xenophobia incident on May 10, the chief director of the Social Cohesion in the Department of Arts and Culture Sandile Memela said, “We have made great advances despite flash points of xenophobia.
South Africa belongs to South Africans and those staying in it. We will continue to urge South Africans to be tolerant and live peacefully with foreigners.” — Xinhua.