Home Columbus Xenophobia in SA – Foreigners taking are taking our Jobs

Foreign-owned shops in South Africa have been attacked and looted in east Johannesburg, the latest in a series of xenophobic attacks.

A standoff developed in the city, with police forming a barrier between an angry crowd and foreign-owned shops.

The violence comes despite Thursday’s rally against xenophobia in the coastal city of Durban, and condemnation from President Jacob Zuma.

At least five people have died in anti-foreigner attacks in recent weeks.

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Many South Africans accuse them of taking jobs in a country where the unemployment rate is 24%.

A crowd began looting foreign-owned shops in east Johannesburg on Thursday night. About about 200 foreigners took refuge at a police station.

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Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the looters and arrested 12 people.

Eyewitness: Raphael Nkomo, a Zimbabwean living and working in Johannesburg

What I saw when I was going to the shops on Thursday evening, it was so terrible.

A group of men were dropped from a mini bus, and all of them were armed with pangas, a [type of] very big knife.

They started chasing people, throwing stones at them. Some were even knifed.

We had to run for cover. We ended up in the shops, and the owners closed the shops while we were still inside until the police were called.

What I saw was terrifying, and if it continues like this by the time the government wakes up many people will be dead. It is very, very bad.

Africans call for South Africa boycott

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The acting Premier of the Gauteng province around Johannesburg, Qedani Mahlangu, called on “each and every South African who’s a peace-loving South African to stand up and condemn this.”

On Thursday President Zuma condemned the recent xenophobic attacks as “shocking”.

“No amount of frustration or anger can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops,” he told parliament on Thursday.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been accused of fuelling the attacks by saying that foreigners should “go back to their countries”. However, he said that his comments had been distorted.

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