JOHANNESBURG – Dozens of foreign-owned shops have closed their doors in Duduza on the East Rand after they came under attack from locals.
Residents went on the rampage looting dozens of businesses owned by foreigners and even torching some.
Police have arrested at least five people in connection with public violence.
The attack on foreign-owned businesses started on Tuesday night after a man was killed, allegedly after an argument with a Somali shop owner.
An 18-year-old pupil was also wounded and by Thursday the violence had intensified.
Some teenagers said they were taken out of their classrooms and ordered to join the protests.
“We were scared because some people are going to be hurt and they were shooting,” said one girl.
The police had their hands full guarding shops run by foreigners and helping the owners to salvage what they could.
It’s not clear what led to the murder, but it’s understand a young man was unhappy the cellphone airtime he bought had expired when he loaded it.
Officers say the violence is not related to xenophobia but was merely the result of crime.
COUNCILLORS’ HOUSE TORCHED
Meanwhile, a house where a local councillor is understood to live has been torched.
It’s thought the house was attacked in response to evictions in the area.
Earlier this year, a Somali national was stabbed to death in Port Elizabeth while separate unrest saw foreign-owned shops looted in Diepsloot.
Authorities insisted those incidents, too, were not xenophobia-related.
In Diepsloot, at least 20 shops were looted and goods worth R150,000 was stolen.
The looting began after two Zimbabweans were shot dead by a Somali shopkeeper after they allegedly tried to rob him.
Shortly afterwards, City of Jo’burg officials said a special programme would be launched to educate residents of Diepsloot on how to live with foreigners.
(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)