A man caught looting from a liquor store was arrested by police in Pretoria last week. Picture: AP/Yeshiel Panchia.

Pretoria - The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Monday said 91 people had been arrested in and around Johannesburg over the past two days amidst a spate of violence and looting of shops owned by foreign nationals.

"Police are condemning all acts of violence directed at the businesses and the looting of shops described as those of foreign nationals by criminal opportunists in areas that include Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Johannesburg Central," said Gauteng provincial police spokesperson, colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

The violence started in Pretoria last week, following an apparent shooting of a taxi driver by a drug dealer. Several shops were looted and burnt, leaving a trail of destruction in South Africa's volatile capital city. The violence and looting soon spread to Johannesburg where more foreign-owned shops were looted.

Dlamini said irresponsible "use and abuse of social media" also played a part in fuelling the violence. 

"The Gauteng provincial commissioner, lieutenant general Elias Mawela. has instructed all commanders to take strong action against the perpetrators as this state of affairs can not be allowed to continue," said Dlamini.
 
Of the 91 arrests, 20 people were apprehended in Rossettenville, 35 in Malvern, 10 in Tembisa, 26 in Jeppe and nine in Germiston.

The suspects face crimes including public violence, malicious damage to property and theft. 
 
"Police are also investigating a case of murder following the fatal shooting of a member of the public. He was allegedly shot by a group of people who had gathered in Hillbrow. At this stage police are still interviewing several people to establish the motive for the shooting. No one has been arrested for the murder," said Dlamini.

"Several operations are still continuing in Tembisa and more people are expected to be arrested. Police are also appealing to any person affected by violence to contact the police emergency number, 10111."

The Zambian government last week  issued a travel advisory, warning its truck drivers to avoid travelling on South Africa’s major routes on Monday, amid threats of violence in the haulage sector targeting foreigners.

African News Agency (ANA)