Five people have been killed with 189 others arrested in a surge of xenophobic violence in South Africa, police said on Tuesday. Hordes of people — some armed with axes and machetes — gathered in Johannesburg’s central business district for the third day of unrest directed against foreigners, hours after mobs burned and looted shops in the township of Alexandra, prompting police to fire rubber bullets to disperse them.
According to AFP, the five deaths — most of them South Africans. Police reaction follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vow to clamp down on the attackers after the African Union, Nigeria and Zambia condemned the attacks. In a video address broadcast on Twitter, Ramaphosa said attacks on businesses run by “foreign nationals is something totally unacceptable, something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa.” “I want it to stop immediately,” said Ramaphosa, adding that the violence had “no justification.”
Separately, African Union chairperson Moussa Faki condemned the violence “in the strongest terms” but said he was encouraged “by arrests already made by the South African authorities”. Deputy President David Mabuza condemned all attacks on foreign nationals.
“We are a nation founded on the values of ubuntu (humanity) as espoused by our founding father, President Nelson Mandela… we should always resist the temptation of being overwhelmed by hatred,” he said in Cape Town on Tuesday.