‘Don't incite violence against foreigners’

Home Affairs on Monday said it was important for all South Africans not to incite xenophobic violence.

FILE: Two Zimbabweans were shot dead by a Somalian shopkeeper in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Home Affairs on Monday said while tensions were running high between African foreigners and residents of KwaMashu and Umlazi in Durban, it was important for leaders and all South Africans at large to make sure their comments did not incite violence.

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 were also affected after their business was destroyed.

At least 28 people were arrested on Sunday night during xenophobic violence in which Somali, Ethiopian and Pakistani people were attacked.

Four people had been killed since Friday in the same area.

Home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said, "We should do everything possible to make sure our words and actions don't incite violence and if we see anyone do that we must make it clear that we, as South Africans, don't support any violent activity."

The Somali Embassy in Pretoria said it had begun tracing all of its citizens who were in South Africa legally in an effort to take them back home following the violence.

At the same time, the embassy described the attacks on its citizens in the province as shocking and said it's written a letter to the International Relations Department asking for urgent assistance.

The embassy's commercial and economic head Yusuf Olusu said, "It's really bad and we hope the government will do something as we have submitted our complaints to them."

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

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

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