Govt condemns Diepsloot violence

Govt has urged police to restore calm in Diepsloot following widespread violence.

Shops looted in Diepsloot. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Government on Tuesday slammed a spate of so-called xenophobic attacks in Gauteng as "pure criminal activity".

Looting of shops owned by foreigners flared up again in Diepsloot overnight and has spread to other areas.

Trouble began on Sunday night after two Zimbabwean men were shot dead by a Somali shopkeeper after allegedly trying to rob him.

Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Government's Phumla Williams said this kind of violence could not be tolerated.

"We as government in the strongest terms condemn the violence that is perpetrated towards the foreign nationals in our country."

She said the arrests of 45 suspects should be commended

"South Africa is a democratic country that accommodates foreign nationals that are in this country legally."

The latest attacks came a day after South Africa marked Africa Day on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the ward councillor of Diepsloot will be meeting with embassy officials from Somalia, Ethiopia and Pakistan to try and find a way to end the crime against foreign shop owners in the area.

Ward councillor Abraham Mabuke said the meeting will be held within the next few days.

The attacks brought back memories of the xenophobic murders of more than 60 foreigners in 2008.

In 2008, the violence began in Alexandra before spreading throughout the country.

Locals accused foreign nationals of stealing their jobs and committing crimes in their areas.