Five arrested after Duduza riot

Rioting began after a Somali man allegedly murdered a resident but police deny xenophobia is to blame.

FILE: Aftermath of the violent protests in Sasolburg on 21 January 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

DUDUZA - At least five people have been arrested for public violence in Duduza, east of Johannesburg, after dozens of foreign-owned shops were looted in the area.

Thursday's riots were sparked by the murder of a 23-year-old man, allegedly by a Somali national who has also been arrested.

It's not clear what led to the murder, but residents, including school-children, vented their anger by looting shops and destroying property.

Officers say the violence is not related to xenophobia but was merely the result of crime.

Police were placed on high alert earlier in the day, patrolling the streets with Nyalas.

Meanwhile, a house where a local councillor is understood to live has been torched. It's thought the house was attacked in response to evictions in the area.

Earlier this year, a Somali national was stabbed to death in PE while separate unrest saw foreign-owned shops looted in Diepsloot.

Authorities insisted those incidents, too, were not xenophobia-related.

In Diepsloot, at least 20 shops were looted and goods worth R150,000 was stolen.

The looting began after two Zimbabweans were shot dead by a Somali shopkeeper after they allegedly tried to rob him.

Shortly afterwards, City of Jo'burg officials said a special programme would be launched to educate residents of Diepsloot on how to live with foreigners.

'TREAT FOREIGNERS WITH RESPECT'

In June, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor commemorated World Refugee Day by denouncing xenophobia in the country.

Speaking in Pretoria, Pandor said the degrading treatment of African foreign nationals was a threat to South Africa's democracy.

She reminded the country that other African nations offered asylum to leaders exiled during the Apartheid era and many fellow Africans lost their lives supporting the anti-Apartheid struggle.

Pandor said attacks on immigrants were tantamount to racism.