A trashed and looted foreign-owned shop stands empty after it was looted in Soweto. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum Dr Vusimuzi Sibanda said allegations of retaliation by Soweto residents on police attacks in the inner City were unfounded.

He also said it wasn’t the place of residents to avenge the police in any case.

Sibanda said the reason citizens feel they could retaliate was due to government laying a fertile ground for the attacks and that could be seen by some utterances by government officials.

“We only here claim that people have been arrested, but nothing ever comes from it. We haven’t heard of any prosecutions, this is in a way what the government is hoping for,” he said.

Sibanda believes the negative mood in the country toward foreign nationals was escalating and the state was not reacting strongly enough against it.

He said that most of what is happening by the state is public relations, while migrants suffer the wrath of the community.

“There are even Whatsapp messages that are circulating where people are organizing to terrorize migrants. This is known and nothing is done about it,” he said.

Gauteng department of Community Safety's Pinkie Numa said MEC Faith Mazibuko felt that it wasn’t necessary for the community to take such actions.

“When they are looting, they are also putting their lives at risk. These incidents started during the day and it was busy with kids along the road,” she said

She said the Gauteng government was looking for a solution to the problems saying it was unacceptable that the actions of the community were retaliation.

“The police in a joint operation with Gauteng traffic and other law enforcement agencies were able to conduct a successful raid,” Numa added.

Numa said citizens could not then feel law enforcement was disregarded and that what Soweto residents did was not the correct way to response, even though the attack on police two weeks ago was disturbing.

“It did not warrant what we saw in Soweto,” she said.

Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said there are now 11 suspects who had been arrested in connecting to the looting.

“Investigations are still carrying on. Police are continuing to monitor the area today,” said  Makhubele.

The Star