Zuma condemns attacks on foreigners

President Jacob Zuma insists there is no justification for the looting of foreign owned shops in Soweto.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has condemned attacks on foreigners saying there is no justification for such behaviour.

Zuma has been addressing Members of Parliament (MPs) in the National Assembly following two days of State of the Nation Address (Sona) debates.

"Recent tragic and unacceptable incidents of violence and looting of shops of foreign nationals was a reminder of the need to support local business and eliminate the possibility for criminality to exploit local frustrations."

Widespread looting occurred in Soweto, Kagiso and Langlaagte after a 14-year-old Soweto boy was shot and killed allegedly by a foreign shop owner.

Many residents focussed their anger over Siphiwe Mahori's murder on foreign shop owners. Six people, including Mahori, have been killed in the violence.

Lasted week, some foreign nationals said Zuma wanted overseas investment to solve South Africa's problems but he would not condemn the looting of foreign-owned shops.

During the Sona Zuma indicated that foreigners would not be allowed to own land.

Some immigrants accused the president of inciting more violence against them by restricting their land rights and encouraging discrimination.

'ANC STILL WORKING FOR BETTER LIFE'

The president said the African National Congress was still working for a better life for all.

He insisted that this included a more de-radicalised economy, highlighting the fact that just three percent of black people owned the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The president quietly hit back at Democratic Alliance's accusations that he was a political wrecking ball.

"Our democracy remains solid. All our democratic institutions, including government agencies remain functional."

Zuma denied the opposition the satisfaction of rising to their bait, and instead reminded MPs of their duties to all South Africans.

"Our people look to us to provide answers and solutions to difficulties they face."

He said no other house could do that except this one.

He's singled out Congress of People leader Mosiuoa Lekota for making constructive suggestions and says he's already issued orders to his ministers.

(Edited Refilwe Pitjeng)