Johannesburg - Three suspects have been arrested for murder after two people were killed during violent community unrest in White City, Soweto on Wednesday, the City of Johannesburg said.
Twelve others were arrested for public violence, the MMC for Public Safety Michael Sun said in a statement.
The situation was said to be volatile with widespread looting reported. Some claim that this follows a warning that the community was sick and tired of the illicit goods that these shops were selling to the communities.
Some foreign nationals who own shops in area were seen packing and leaving their shops.
One of the three deceased was identified by his brother as Banele Xqayiso. Mandlekosi Xqayiso was adamant that his brother was not looting when he was shot dead allegedly by a shop keeper.
"I got a call while I was at work and I was told my brother is dead."
He said his 23-year-old brother was a paying customer, not a looter. He went to the shop to buy snuff.
A second person was found dead with a stab wound, but police could not confirm if the death was related to the shooting of Banele Xqayiso.
Sun also said that it was believed that the cause of the violence was sparked by accusations that shop owners within the community had allegedly been selling counterfeit and expired goods to members of the community.
This comes just a day after JMPD was conducting its Operation Buya Mthetho in the Maraisburg area to deal with shop owners selling expired foodstuff to the public.
"Reports of attacks on shops owned by foreign nationals are said to be spreading across the area. JMPD and South African Police Services (SAPS) have been deployed to the community in a bid to contain the situation and prevent criminal activity," said Sun.
"We condemn the acts of violence in the strongest terms. We are deeply concerned to see levels of violence which have resulted in the loss of two young lives.
"There can be no room for lawless within our society.
Sun said he would be visiting the area this evening in order to assess the situation and implement any appropriate action on behalf of the City.
"I urge all residents to not to take the law into their own hands or resort to acts of violence and looting. I also urge all shop owners and retailers to immediately remove from their shelves any counterfeit and expired foodstuff or goods. JMPD will continue conducting an operation to rid our community of such ill business practices," the councillor said.