A man caught looting from a liquor store was arrested by police in Pretoria last week during protests that quickly escalated and spread. Picture: AP/Yeshiel Panchia.

Pretoria - More than 400 people have been arrested in connection with the violence and looting that has rocked the Gauteng province, where businesses mostly owned by foreign national were targeted.  

On Thursday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said law enforcement agencies were working around the clock to restore peace and stability in the country's economic hub.

"At least 423 people have been arrested for violence and looting across the province. Here, in Ekurhuleni district, a total of 89 arrests were made for public violence and two unlicensed firearms were also recovered," said Makhura.

"Those who have been arrested will face the full might of the law; our criminal justice system is ready to deal with perpetrators of violence, looting and lawlessness.

"We continue to do everything within our power to ensure the safety of all who reside within our borders, citizens and foreign nationals, irrespective of their status. There can be no justification for criminality and any grievances must be addressed within the confines of the law."

He emphasised that South Africa's laws would be enforced, and there would be no hesitation in acting against criminal activity, the destruction of property and those found to be inciting violence.

"We are working around the clock to ensure orderly and humane management of migration. We do regular checks on businesses to see if they comply with labour regulations in the country. Businesses found guilty of contravening the laws of the country are fined accordingly," he said.
 
"We appeal to all businesses to follow the law. Everyone has a duty to follow the rules and not employ people illegally, or try and avoid tax or not pay the national minimum wage. Department of labour inspectors will continue to do routine checks to ensure that businesses are compliant."
 
He said South Africa's relations with other nations on the continent remained strong.  

"South Africa is an integral part of the African continent and continues to advocate for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa. As Africans, we all have a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity," said Makhura.

"We should never forget or take lightly that our fellow Africans have contributed to developing our economy and that of the region."

"They stood by us during the darkest days of the apartheid regime. Similarly, South Africans are helping to develop economies across the continent.  We have historically shared resources within the SADC region, and will continue to do so."

African News Agency (ANA)