NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa: Xenophobic violence kills two in Johannesburg


Posted on Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:09

South Africa: Xenophobic violence kills two in Johannesburg

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town

File photo©ReutersA leading South African trade union has called for tough action against perpetrators of xenophobic attacks in the country's commercial capital Johannesburg that have claimed two lives.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) said the government should intervene "to snuff out" the problem before it becomes a "spreading cancer".

It's not clear who shot at him... but it was during the process of last night's violence

NEHAWU spoke out after another person was shot dead and a foreign-owned shop was burnt down in Soweto on Wednesday night.

The killing brought the death toll to two from violence that broke out in Snake Park, Soweto on Monday involving locals and foreigners.

"There was a Naledi community member who was shot and killed. It's not clear who shot at him... but it was during the process of last night's violence," said the police's Kay Makhubela.

NEHAWU condemned the looting of shops and the killing of foreign nationals in Soweto by some criminal elements.

"We are calling on the law enforcement agencies to intervene and arrest the perpetrators of these dastardly acts," the union said.

A 14-year-old boy was shot dead on Monday and a 15-year-old boy was shot and injured. He has since been discharged from hospital.

Although the area was calm on Thursday, the provincial police commissioner had called on police from across Gauteng to assist in the area.

NEHAWU's Siza Pamla said: the "us" versus "them" mentality that exists amongst the poor and mostly black Africans in South Africa pointed to a sad apartheid legacy of segregation and artificial borders created by colonisers.

"These disgraceful episodes of xenophobic attacks also point to economic deprivation of the majority of black people and the government's failure to deal decisively with immigration, integration and the existing economic inequalities" he said.

Close to 70 people have been arrested and will appear in the local courts in connection with the violence.

In 2008 violent xenophobic attacks against African immigrants in South Africa displaced thousands.

A number of people were also killed amid mass looting and destruction of foreign-owned homes, property and businesses.

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