'Local and foreign business owners must unite'

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says foreign shopkeepers are merely making an honest living.

A foreign national stands by the open window to the makeshift kitchen at a sanctuary in Mayfair, Johannesburg, after he fled violence against foreign nationals owning spaza shops in Soweto. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has urged local business people to work together with foreign shop owners adding South Africa is a country that doesn't discriminate against any nationality.

Makhura visited Mayfair in Johannesburg today where hundreds of foreigners have taken refuge following violent attacks in Soweto.

The violence began on Monday when a 14-year-old boy was shot dead by a foreign shop owner.

Makhura says like local shop owners, foreign shopkeepers are merely making an honest living.

"I believe many of you are here as honest human beings. So we must protect honest human beings."

Makhura says locals should stop seeing foreigners as rivals, but should find a way of working together.

"It is only social cohesion that will help us to deal with xenophobia. Social cohesion will help us to deal with crime."

Foreign community leaders have also expressed their concerns at the recent attacks and have pledged to work together with authorities to ensure calm is restored.

Many of the business owners in attendance say they fear to go back to Soweto where their lives are now in danger.

Meanwhile, calm has been restored in Soweto following looting on foreign owned businesses.

Police officers are monitoring the affected areas.