Gauteng Premier David Makhura has weighed in on the violence in Soweto labelling the attacks as criminal activity and not xenophobia.
Police have had running battles with youngsters looting and destroying shops owned by foreigners since Monday night.
Residents went on a rampage looting shops and attacking foreigners after a teenager was shot dead in Snake Park. Mthetheleli Siphiwe Mahori, 14, was shot dead, allegedly by a foreign shop owner on Monday. He was apparently part of a group that tried to rob the shop.
Since Monday, more than 80 shops owned by Somali, Pakistani and Malawian nationals have been destroyed across the townships including Braamfischerville, Dobsonville, Emdeni, Maphetla, Zola, Naledi and Protea Glen.
Police are on high alert in the townships that left three people dead.
Police said over 160 people have been arrested for the looting since Monday.
Premier Makhura, who convened a high level meeting with SAPS including Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Mabolane, Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau, CPFs local church, community and business leaders, said there is no justification for looting of shops.
Speaking to the media after the meeting on Friday, Premier Makhura condemned the looting.
He said the looting was a criminal element and was not xenophobic as there are reports that looting also affected shops owned by locals.
“There is no justification for these acts. This is pure criminality,” he said, adding that youth have been central in the looting.
Gauteng Police Provincial Commissioner General Lesetja Mothiba said youth addicted to drugs were identified as those looting shops.
“The solution can never be to loot a shop near you.”
Premier Makhura emphasised that foreign nationals were welcomed to do business in Gauteng. However, he said they have to follow regulations and due processes.
He said Gauteng had a programme to grow township businesses.
The Premier, who earlier had a meeting with the religious leaders at the Grace Bible Church, said the provincial government will not be leaving the townships until calm has been restored.
After the briefing, the delegation spent their day assessing the situation on the ground by visiting the affected areas where he received first-hand account of the events from the locals.
Most locals who spoke to SAnews said they were in agreement that the looting was criminal and appears to have been specific groups of people not from their areas.
Residents say the nation has lost the values of Ubuntu.
“Right now I am so ashamed of being a South African. This looting of shops of our hard working brothers is heart breaking. Where is Ubuntu. Where is being African,” Thandekile Mkhize said.
While appealing for calm, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said g action will be taken against those who carry out violent attacks.
“We’re calling on our people to observe and respect the law.”
This morning, the mood in townships is quite with locals going about their normal business. There continues to be a high police contingency in most affected townships.
President Jacob Zuma on Friday instructed the security cluster of government and provincial and local leaders to bring the situation under control.
Source : SAnews.gov.za