Johannesburg - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema condemned attacks against foreign nationals on Thursday, saying the incidents were crimes perpetrated by South Africans.
"The attacks are not justifiable. They are acts of crime. Okay then, let's say Nigerians are selling drugs. Do we resolve it by committing a crime? Subject people to mob justice and kangaroo courts? You cannot replace crime with crime...report crime to the police, should police refuse to act, report them too. It a societal responsibility to root out crime," Malema told journalists in Johannesburg.
Attacks should be directed to what Malema called "white monopoly capital" and the governing African National Congress.
"You want a revolution? A revolution is one that should be directed to white monopoly capital...we will be there. I am not joining an act of stoning my own brother, after which you go and steal? When you're done with Nigerians, Mozambican and Zimbabweans, you are going to go for Tsongas from Giyani. I have to stop you now before you come for me," Malema said.
Premier David Makhura said on the same day that more than 400 people had been arrested following violent attacks across the Gauteng province. He urged communities to be vigilant and avoid "being manipulated by provocateurs", whom he said sought to exploit people’s fears and concerns.
"No amount of economic hardship and discontent can ever justify the criminal activity associated with these attacks. Let us treat each other with respect and care.
"We are calling on people to take responsibility for what they post and re-post on social media. Let us be careful not to spread fake news or unrelated incidents of violence. Irresponsible social media posts only serve to further inflame tensions," Makhura said at a media briefing held in Ekurhuleni.
The EFF leader apologised to those affected by the violence in South Africa, saying he supported musicians from the continent who cancelled scheduled concerts in South Africa.
"We are saying to fellow African brothers and sisters that it is not all of us. We stand with the victims of xenophobia because we see ourselves in them. We know that you are angry and in pain...we are sorry, forgive us."
"We come from a traumatised past and are struggling to find ourselves. One day we will know that we are part of Africa...we are still working on ourselves, we will soon realise we are nothing without our continent."
African News Agency (ANA)