Several foreign-owned shops in Johannesburg were last night looted and vandalised in a fresh crop of xenophobic attacks.
According to Eye Witness News, police had their hands full using live ammunition, teargas and rubber bullets as they tried to prevent angry mobs from looting foreign-owned businesses in central Johannesburg Central Business District.
Locals in Jeppestown and Cleveland reportedly blocked roads with rocks and burning tyres ordering foreigners to leave the country.
The overnight looting forced some foreign business owners to return to their shops to protect them.
Meanwhile, foreign nationals in Actonville, Benoni said they're not only fearing for their lives, but also how they will be able to pay their bills as their businesses remain shut as a precautionary measure.
Many foreigners closed their shops yesterday and vowed not to reopen it until there was peace in the neighbourhood.
Commenting on the development, a Pakistani man who's been staying in the area for 16 years said they don’t understand why locals want them to leave when they are employing South Africans.
In his words:
“For the small money, they don’t want to work. All of them are behind the big money. We will never be able to get rent by the end of the month and the landlords won’t spare us. Whatever happens with us, they're not worried about anything.”
Another foreigner; a Mozambican national who owns a workshop in Jeppestown in the Johannesburg Central Business District said he doesn't understand why foreigners are being targeted as they have been living in peace with locals for a number of years.
George Albert who said some of his cars were stolen from his repair store and set alight in the early hours of this morning lamented the sudden fall-out of good relations with his host community, adding that he doesn't know how he'll break the news of the burnt cars to his customers.
5 foreigners have so far been killed in this latest wave of xenophobic attacks with many foreigners seeking refuge in police stations and their country's high commissions.
The violence flared on April 10th following comments from Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini who called on foreigners to leave the country. He however claims that his comments were distorted.
In 2008, 62 people were killed in a wave of xenophobic attacks with 21 of the casualties being South Africans.