22 Jan 2015 13:00pm
SOWETO VIOLENCE NOT XENOPHOBIC: MEC
This week's violence and looting against foreign shop owners in Soweto was not xenophobic, Gauteng's community safety MEC said on Thursday.
Two people have been shot dead since violence broke out between locals and foreigners in Snake Park on Monday.
"The actions are pure criminality... For now we won't declare it xenophobic attacks," Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane told reporters in Johannesburg.
Nkosi-Malobane said the attacks were sporadic and being carried out by a group of young people who moved from area to area.
"Unfortunately sometimes they're joined by adults," she said.
Earlier, Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Lesetja Mothiba said reinforcements had been sent to control the situation.
An operations centre had been established to co-ordinate police operations in the area.
Police were working with community policing forums and other government leaders to calm the situation.
The looting of foreign shops started on Monday after 14-year-old Mthetheleli Siphiwe Mahori was shot dead, allegedly by a foreign shop owner in Snake Park.
Eighty-one foreign shops had been looted since Monday.