'Criminals behind Diepsloot violence'

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has condemned the recent violence in Diepsloot.

Looted Diepsloot shop. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on Wednesday said attacks against foreigners in Diepsloot were acts of criminality and should not be seen as xenophobia.

Foreign-owned shops were looted in the township after two Zimbabwean men were shot dead over the weekend.

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

However, Radebe said the recent incidents were just acts of criminality.

"I think the criminal activities that are perpetuated by some South Africans is a matter of grave concern. They are not a reflection of xenophobic attacks against foreigners."

Officials from Johannesburg's mayoral committee said a special programme will be launched in Diepsloot to educate locals about living with foreigners.

Radebe was speaking ahead of his budget vote in Parliament.

He also said South Africa's justice system was working.

Radebe was responding to criticism of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for its handling of several high profile cases in recent months.

The acquittal of the seven policemen accused of killing Ficksburg resident Andries Tatane and the state's handling of the Fidentia fraud case are some examples.

However, Radebe said these were just a few cases and overall he is satisfied that the NPA was doing a good job.

"People don't volunteer to go to prison. It's because we have energetic prosecutors at all levels who prosecute without fear, favour or prejudice."