Gauteng Police on High Alert following Xenophobic Attacks and Looting

Pretoria - Gauteng police remain on high alert this morning as incidents of looting and attacks on the shops of foreign nationals took place in the province last night.

Police say about 200 foreign nationals were accommodated at the Cleveland police station after attacks at Jules Street in Malvern.

Police arrested 12 suspects for public violence.

Foreign nationals’ shops were also looted in Slovoville at around 2am. About five men, three of whom were armed, held up the owner and took goods. No injuries were reported and no arrests have been made yet.

Police say calm has been restored in many of the hotspots in Gauteng.

Joint Operational Centres have been activated nationally to respond to the ongoing attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) -- which is the operational arm of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster -- will run a centre on a 24-hour basis to coordinate the response of law enforcement to these violent incidents.

In order to improve intelligence capacity, NATJOINTS has deployed additional operatives on the ground to gather information and assess it for its operational response.

In a special address to Parliament on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said government will, through the criminal justice system, take stern action against those responsible for the violence and looting and ensure that they are brought to book.

“No amount of frustration or anger can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops. We condemn the attacks in the strongest terms.

“The attacks violate all the values that South Africa embodies, especially the respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and Ubuntu. Our country stands firmly against all intolerances such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation will this morning meet ambassadors and diplomats from other African countries to discuss the attacks.

The Minister is expected to hold a media briefing following her interaction.