Firms and businesses belonging to foreign nationals in Pretoria West and Mamelodi were looted on Monday night and Tuesday. This was after an outbreak of violence at the weekend when residents looted and burnt businesses and houses of foreigners.

Police spokesperson Captain Bonginkosi Msimango said the looting started at 8pm on Monday in Atteridgeville. “The situation was very tense. The looting escalated to Lotus Gardens at about 9pm, where shops were emptied out. It became uncontrollable in a short space of time, but we managed to calm the situation,” he said.

Three people have been arrested after the xenophobic attacks gripped parts of Pretoria, where about 20 foreign-owned shops were looted on Monday night.

Over the weekend residents burnt down two houses believed to be drug dens and brothels operated by foreign nationals in Pretoria West.

A group of people stormed three Somalis tuckshops in Mahube Section, Mamelodi, in the early hours of Tuesday and looted them.

 

The police came in the middle of the looting spree to chase the group away.

 

The organiser of the anti-foreigner march Makgoka Lekganyane said it was because people were tired of being “slaves” in their own country.

However, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference and the Justice and Peace Commission called for calm and restraint amid fears that the planned march could spark xenophobic attacks.

Chairperson Bishop Abel Gabuza said: “The planned march against foreigners in Pretoria is cause for serious concern. We call for calm and restraint.”