Crime, feuds incorrectly called xenophobia attacks - Zuma

The president says incidents, which have been described as xenophobic, are usually triggered by a specific event.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA – President Jacob Zuma says incidents of crime or feuds between people must not be incorrectly characterised as xenophobic violence.

The president was speaking outside the Rietgat Police Station in Soshanguve on Tuesday after meeting with the community and police station management.

Violence erupted in parts of Pretoria last week ahead of an anti-immigrant march while Jeppestown in Johannesburg has seen consecutive nights of foreign-owned shops being looted.

WATCH: Violence mars xenophobic march in Pretoria

The president says the incidents, which have been described as xenophobic, are usually triggered by a specific event.

“What I am saying is, we should not highlight that and give the wrong impression that South Africans are xenophobic.”

Zuma also downplayed the recent looting of foreign-owned shops.

“Even if there are no foreigners, I know faction fighting – for example – if there is a fight, people loot, whether you are a foreigner or not. It is a character that goes with violence.”

The president did however say he is concerned by the attacks on foreigners.

WATCH: Violence flares up yet againg in Jeppestown

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)