JOHANNESBURG - One of South Africa's oldest trade unions, UASA, on Tuesday demanded decisive action from President Cyril Ramaphosa to contain a wave of violence targeted mainly at mostly-African foreign small business owners.
Police have arrested dozens of people in and around Johannesburg this week over the looting and burning of foreign-owned shops, the latest in xenophobic attacks that have plagued South Africa in real years. Ironically, some South African business owners have also seen their properties vandalised in the latest spate of violence.
The attacks in Johannesburg come in the wake of similar attacks in the capital Pretoria last week following the shooting of a taxi driver allegedly by a drug dealer.
Some South Africans say they are retaliating against crime committed by foreigners and the sale of illicit goods by foreign shop owners, but police have blamed criminal opportunists for the violence.
In a statement on Tuesday, UASA spokesman Stanford Mazhindu said the violence in the Johannesburg central business district, Jeppestown and Malvern was are out of control "and it seems as if police’s hands are cut off as the violence moves from one area to the next with incidents also being reported in Booysens, Fordsburg, Pretoria and Boksburg".