22 arrested in KZN xenophobic attacks

Several foreign-owned shops were looted & torched in Durban overnight.

FILE: A site of a looted foreign owned shop in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - KwaZulu-Natal police are maintaining a heavy presence in KwaMashu and Umlazi following another spate of xenophobic attacks on foreigners overnight.

Twenty-two people have been arrested and several foreign-owned shops were looted and torched in Durban overnight in the latest flare-up of xenophobia.

The attacks continued throughout the weekend.

In the latest incident, two Ethiopian brothers were petrol-bombed in Umlazi on Friday evening, with one of them reportedly succumbing to his injuries.

Another five shops were looted on Friday forcing more Ethiopians in the area to flee.

It is alleged a Pakistani family are also affected after their business was destroyed.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said the situation is back to normal, but police are still patrolling the area.

He said a high police presence will still be in the area to ensure that there is no further violence.

"The situation was previously tense after a number of people attacked foreign owned shops. They looted and burnt shops down. They also blocked off roads by burning tyres as well as placing rocks which made it difficult for police to respond."

AU CALLS FOR ACTION

Human rights activist Elinor Sisulu says South African businesses operating in African countries will most likely feel the backlash from the attacks.

"I know that there is a lot of anger across the African continent at the way Africans are seen and treated in South Africa. You know the consequences are going to be on South African businesses operating on the African continent."

LISTEN: Human rights and gender activist Elinor Sisulu has warned SA businesses operating in African countries will most likely feel the backlash from xenophobic attacks.

Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) has called for more stringent action from the South African government, to address the spate of afrophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal.

Last week, AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma raised concerns over the displacement of hundreds of foreign nationals in that province.

President Jacob Zuma has also weighed in, saying that government is deeply concerned by the violence, and has urged locals to treat foreigners with respect.

The Home Affairs, State Security and Police Departments have been deployed to Durban, to engage authorities and community members on the recent spate of attacks.

While over 300 foreign nationals have been left displaced, police say they do not believe the situation has reached its crisis point.

Late last month, foreign nationals were violently booted out of Isipingo, south of Durban.