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Xenophobic attacks: Police make arrests in Jeppestown

While the air is filled with the smell of tear gas, locals say they will continue with attacks on foreigners.

Police have started to make several arrests in Johannesburg CBD and Jeppestown, where protesters vowed to continue to loot foreign-owned shops in the area on 17 April 2015. Picture: Aurelie Kalenga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng police have made a number of arrests as they try to clear crowds in the Jeppestown area in Johannesburg this afternoon.

Tension is high following a standoff between Nigerians and locals earlier today.

Locals attacked a foreign owned workshop damaging about 20 vehicles.

While the air is filled with the smell of tear gas, locals say they will continue with attacks on foreigners until they all leave the country.

They are threatening to throw stones at police.

One man says President Jacob Zuma does not listen to their grievances.

"The problem is that Jacob Zuma is against us, he wants those people who came from other countries to live in this country."

Firefighters have returned to the area as sporadic acts of violence flare up.

At least two men have been arrested after trying to loot a spaza shop.

Meanwhile, Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Major General Theko Pharasi says they have enough officers to stop the violence that is spreading to various areas in Gauteng.

"I'm sure that you will agree will me that we spoke about the Primrose area and the Jeppestown area and Cleveland. I don't see any necessity of activation of the South African National Defence Force."

This as more police reinforcements have been brought in the Jeppestown area where authorities anticipate further clashes between locals and foreign nationals.

Pharasi has called on people who spread messages claiming xenophobic attacks are imminent, to stop forwarding them, saying they amount to inciting violence.

Police say they will remain in various hot spots until calm has been restored.

STATE SECURITY WORKING ON MAKING SA SAFE

At the same time, State Security Minister David Mahlobo says ambassadors from other African countries are saddened by the situation unfolding in South Africa.

Mahlobo is among a group of ministers who have been discussing the xenophobic violence that started in KwaZulu-Natal, and spread to Gauteng, with representatives from the continent.

He says the state is working to make South Africa safe for everyone who lives in it.

"There is an agreement to say let's put our heads together, we have the capacity to solve this African problem, like we have solved other problems before. We've also assured them of the work we are doing in terms of our security services to secure all nationals regardless of whether they are South Africans or not South Africans."

Mahlobo says the violence is being perpetuated by a handful of individuals with ulterior motives but their grievances don't justify their actions.

"South Africans, there are those in a minority, must appreciate that we are one country, one continent and one people. We are also going to be interconnected for the rest of our lives as we go forward."

LISTEN: State Security Minister vows to bring xenophobia instigators to book

AFRICAN DIPLOMATS UNITE AGAINST XENOPHOBIA

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says African diplomats have agreed to work together to stop xenophobia.

The minister together with her state security counterpart, David Mlambo, was speaking after meeting African Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Pretoria.

Diplomats say they have agreed to unification against xenophobia.

Nkoana-Mashabane says structures will be put in place to stop the scourge before it spreads across the continent.

"We are dealing with that which we need to deal with first. The issues of resources, they are giving attention to the areas that they need to."

Responding to claims that foreigners are fleeing the country she says this is temporary and they will return.

"For those who want to be repatriated, we support that. But we also know that half of them will be back here in South Africa."

The presidency has directed the security and economic clusters to take the steps announced in parliament yesterday to prevent further attacks.

WATCH: Tear gas & rubber bullets: Xenophobia hits Benoni

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