Upsurge of xenophobic violence sparks fear

Renewed fears of more xenophobic violence after a number of attacks in both Johannesburg & Cape Town.

Gigi Mokoura, an Ethiopian national and spaza shop owner, jumps down a ladder leading from his bedroom above his shop in Marcus Garvey, as he hastily packs up his goods, anticipating an attack from looters. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - There are renewed fears around the resumption of attacks on foreigners in Soweto this morning after a shop owner sustained serious burns when his business was petrol bombed during a looting spree.

Police say a gang went around the area on Thursday afternoon telling foreigners to leave the community.

While a manhunt has been launched for those behind the attack, the police's Kay Makhubela has called on anyone with information to come forward.

"There was one foreign shop owner who was burnt severely by a petrol bomb. He was taken to hospital and we're still monitoring the situation."

At the same time, four foreign nationals are facing a charge of being in possession of an unlicensed firearm after one of them fired a shot in the air when a group of locals tried to loot his store in the same area.

No one was injured.

The latest attacks follow last month's eruption of violence sparked by the death of teenager Siphiwe Mahori.

Mahori was shot dead by a foreign shopkeeper who accused him of robbery.

Widespread looting then spread to other parts of Gauteng, with foreign business people fleeing to places of safety.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town, the circumstances surrounding the death of a 19-year-old girl in Philippi in xenophobic violence remains unclear.

The youth was shot on Tuesday night when some Marikana informal settlement residents went on the rampage and looted foreign-owned shops.

The police's Andre Traut says, "She was admitted to hospital with injuries, where she succumbed. A murder case has been registered and no one has been arrested as yet."

WATCH: Inside the Philippi looting

Many foreign business owners in Philippi have been forced to close up shop.

They fear for their lives after their shops have been targeted.

The looting has now also spread to surrounding areas.

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The Department of Small Business Development has condemned violence in which foreign-owned shops are being targeted in some parts of the country.

Minister Lindiwe Zulu has set aside a task team to probe the causes of the violence.

She says all people living in South Africa, including foreigners, are entitled to full protection under the law.

Zulu says in terms of the Constitution, asylum seekers and refugees are allowed to work in the country, granted they are here legally.