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Xenophobic attacks: Defence Minister defends cops and govt

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula condemned claims that authorities haven’t been able to control the violence.

FILE: A foreign national holds a machete to protect himself after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban on 14 April, 2015 in ongoing violence against foreign nationals in Durban, South Africa. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has strongly condemned what she calls a perception that the police and government have not been able to bring the violence aimed at foreigners under control and says the deployment of the army now is not too late.

The South African National Defence Force (Sandf) has been instructed to help the police where necessary to bring an end to the attacks on foreign nationals.

Three weeks ago xenophobic attacks flared up in KwaZulu-Natal and then the violence quickly spread to the Gauteng province.

Seven people have died due to the violence; this excludes the death of Emmanuel Sithole, a Mozambican national, who succumbed to his stab wounds after he was attacked in Alexandra at the weekend.

Troops are being deployed in Alexandra and parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mapisa-Nqakula says there is no evidence that foreigners are stealing South Africans' job opportunities which has been widely claimed by communities affected by the violence.

"We are now reclaiming the authority of the state."

LISTEN: Do foreigners take local jobs?

Since last week communities have called for the army to be deployed as foreigners say they feel vulnerable and the police are failing to protect them.

Deployment of the soldiers began earlier this afternoon.

The defence minister says it's only a small group of people who are plotting these attacks trying to discredit the country.

Just last night a Zimbabwean couple was attacked by locals both were shot and wounded and taken to hospital.

Government have not said how many troops will be deployed to Alex and other hotspots around the country.

The decision to deploy the army will be tabled in Parliament within seven days.

Authorities say 307 people have been arrested with regard to the recent xenophobic attacks in the country.

WATCH: EFF leader Julius Malema addresses xenophobia in Alex.

MAKHURA LABELS SITHOLE'S DEATH AS CRIMINAL

Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier David Makhura believes the death of Mozambican National Emmanuel Sithole is purely an act of criminality and is not the result of xenophobia.

Sithole was stabbed to death by four men who were charged in the Alexandra Magistrates Court this morning.

His last moments in Alexandra were captured by photographers and published on the front page of The Sunday Times.

Makhura admits the fact that the murder was committed at a time where foreigners are being attacked cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor.

At the same time, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba says Sithole's family are still struggling to deal with his death.

Makgoba, who visited Sithole's family this week, says they're suffering.

"There was that big bubble of pain in their throats and they hope resources will come through so they can repatriate the body to Mozambique."

Mapisa-Nqakula says the media's decision to publish Sithole's last moments as he was stabbed was a turning point for the country and South Africans needed to see that action was being taken.

The minister says she battled to look at the pictures of how he was stabbed to death pleading for his life and says this was a wake-up call.

"It has shaken everybody and South Africans now know they need to stand up."

She has also slated those who have resorted to violence by attacking foreigners.