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AU issues statement on violence against Africa nationals in South Africa

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned the incidents of violence against nationals of fellow African countries in South Africa, including the looting and destruction of their property.

Mr. Mahamat called for further immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, and ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts, and that justice be done to those who suffered economic and other losses.

The Chairperson reiterates the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to the erupted violence, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity.

South African police on Monday arrested dozens of people following widespread looting and protests in the transport industry linked to a wave of anti-foreigner sentiment.

At least 70 people have been arrested since hundreds of people marched through Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD) earlier on Monday, plundering shops and torching cars and buildings, the police said in a statement.

The unrest started on Sunday when an old building in the CBD caught fire and collapsed, killing at least three people.

It then spread to two eastern suburbs and to the capital Pretoria, where local media reported shops burning in the Marabastad – a central business area largely populated by economic migrants.

Police also said they were investigating a death in Hillbrow, where a “member of the public” was allegedly shot by a group.

“At this stage police are still interviewing several people to establish the motive,” said a statement by the provincial commissioner.

Such violence breaks out sporadically in South Africa, where many nationals blame immigrants for high unemployment, particularly in manual labour.

South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from the southern Africa region, with many moving from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in search for work.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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