Makhura vows to protect foreign business owners

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has met with hundreds of business owners who were forced to flee Soweto.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura is addressing hundreds of foreign business owners in Mayfair. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has assured foreign business owners that government will do everything in its power to protect them.

Makhura visited the Nura Community Hall in Mayfair this afternoon where hundreds of victims of the Soweto attacks have taken refuge.

This week has seen violent attacks against foreign business owners in various parts of the province.

The violence was sparked by the death of a 14-year-old boy in Soweto on Monday forcing many shop owners to flee the area.

Three people have been killed this week.

Makhura has pledged solidarity with the victims.

"When you come to South Africa you want to live in Soweto. We want you to feel free there. We don't want places that are designated for certain nationalities. When you are here in South Africa you must live with us where we live."

Scores of foreign business owners have lost everything following the violence.

But most of them say they will not leave the country.

They want to return to the communities to rebuild their lives.

POLICE PRESENCE

While calm has been restored in Soweto, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has ordered officers to remain on standby and monitor the affected areas.

Phiyega's spokesperson Solomon Makgale says, "Indeed it is calm in Soweto. We haven't had any major incidents. Our officers are still out there on the ground, keeping an eye on things, making sure that we maintain law and order."

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Human Rights have labelled the violence xenophobic saying it is an indication of a lack of tolerance and compassion for foreign nationals trying to make a living in South Africa.

The organisation says it's however pleased with swift police action to quell many of the attacks which have led to more than 170 arrests.

The organisation's Patricia Erasmus says, "I think at the end of the day violence is complicated and it can't be attributed to a single cause. But what is definitely the case is that there shouldn't be a vigilante reaction. There shouldn't be a mob justice reaction to any event or perceived event."