One of the foreign-owned shops in White City, Soweto, that was broken into and looted of everything. PHOTOS: ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The actions of the South African government against immigrants fuels hatred and violence towards foreign nationals, the EFF said on Thursday.

The party was reacting to overnight looting of stores owned by foreign nationals in Soweto.

"Unable to resolve conditions of unemployment and poverty facing black people, government is engaged in a programme to blame and sponsor anger at black foreign nationals in the Johannesburg CBD, which is now spreading to townships. This phenomenon will likely spread across the country started through violence by government in the name of counterfeit goods," the EFF said in a statement.

"We condemn it as a reactionary and short-sighted self hate-driven mass violence against our own. Had it been white people harassed by police through mass arrests, the whole world would have called it out for what it is - human rights violation. However, black lives do not matter, even for a black government in South Africa."

The EFF added that while counterfeit goods are bad for the country, the targeting of black foreign nationals fuels afrophobia and that all races, citizens and foreigners, engage in crime.

Residents in the Soweto areas of Jabulani, Naledi, Zola, Emndeni, Moletsane, White City, Zondi and Rockville attacked and stole groceries from the shops on Wednesday night. Looters were caught on camera grabbing food items before dashing off, with some loading the stolen goods into vehicles.

During clashes in the city centre two weeks ago, mainly foreign street vendors pelted police with rocks and chased them out of the area. Police returned a week later and arrested hundreds of undocumented foreign nationals. They also discovered high calibre firearms during the raid.

On Thursday, Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said officers were monitoring areas affected by Wednesday night's looting.

Police raids across Soweto netted the arrest of seven people and the recovery of some of the stolen goods.

African News Agency (ANA)