The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has revealed that not less than ten people have lost their lives in the xenophobic attack against foreigners in the country.
Ramaphosa stated this in a televised address in Johannesburg.
According to Ramaphosa, “Over the past few days, our country has been deeply traumatised and troubled by acts of violence and criminality directed against foreign nationals and our own citizens.”
“People have lost their lives, families have been traumatised. We know that at least 10 people have been killed in the violence. Two of whom were foreign nationals.”
Police in the country have arrested over 80 people and confirmed five deaths as riots in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria intensified on Tuesday.
High unemployment and widespread poverty have been cited as possible triggers for the recent attacks on foreigners.
“We can’t rule out pure criminality of criminals using a sensitive situation where there are real grievances on issues of unemployment and foreign nationals,” police minister Bheki Cele said.
Cele confirmed five people had been killed in the three days of rioting, but did not give further details on the circumstances or on arrests.
The Premier of Gauteng province, David Makhura, said during an inspection of the damage in Alexandra that there was a “xenophobic sentiment” underlying the attacks.
Ramaphosa condemned the violence, saying in a video posted on Twitter that “attacking businesses run by foreign nationals is totally unacceptable”.