Soweto residents taking part in the looting of foreign-owned shops and parents who were allowing them to bring home the goods, were described as a curse to the community by Gauteng premier David Makhura on Friday.
“Shame unto you! How are going to raise your child while you show them how to steal?” he asked residents at a meeting in Doornkop, following five days of looting of foreign-owned stores.
“Parents, when your child brings stolen goods into your house what are you saying?”
He said if parents allowed their children to steal from foreigners, next time the children would steal from them.
He was part of a delegation of religious and government leaders in Doornkop to appeal for peace. At least three people have been killed and 162 people arrested since the unrest started on Monday.
Makhura said the looting was not justified.
“We do not want a situation where being a foreigner is a crime,” he said.
He said foreigners were welcome to do business in Gauteng, but they had to follow due process and regulations.
President Jacob Zuma has instructed the security cluster in Cabinet and provincial and local leaders to bring the situation under control.
At least three people have died since looting started in Soweto, south of Johannesburg, on Monday, police said.
One of them was a 19-year-old youth who was shot in Naledi at 7pm on Wednesday, Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale said on Friday. He was declared dead on arrival at hospital.
The Star reported on Thursday that Nhlanhla Monareng, 19, was shot dead when police fired into a crowd gathered at a Pakistani-owned shop in Naledi on Wednesday night. He was a bystander and reportedly friends with the Pakistanis, according to the newspaper.
The first victim was 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori. He was shot dead, allegedly by a Somalian shopkeeper, when he and a group tried to rob his shop in Snake Park on Monday.
The shop owner, Senosi Yusuf, is expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on a charge of murder on Monday next week.
The Star also reported that 74-year-old Malawian shopkeeper Dan Mokwena, was attacked and killed as he slept in his shop in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Gauteng police provincial commissioner General Lesetja Mothiba said youth addicted to drugs were identified as those looting shops.
“They targeted specific items such as prepaid airtime vouchers, cigarettes and cash,” he said.
By Friday night the total number of people arrested from Monday was 162.
The looting spread to other parts of Soweto, and has since spilled over to Sebokeng in the Vaal and Kagiso on the West Rand.
Religious leaders on Friday appealed for peace in Soweto.
“It is just one year after the death of Tata Nelson Mandela. Let us not disappoint his spirit,” Gift Moerane, on behalf of the religious leaders, told a residents’ meeting.
Moerane thanked Doornkop residents for remaining calm after a teenager was shot dead on Monday.
“We are grateful that you listen and restore calm,” he said.
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, expressed shock at the targeting of residents from elsewhere in Africa.
“Revenge will not solve problems, only a display of our innate goodness and generous forgiveness will take us forward.”
The Roman Catholic Bishops meeting in Pretoria called on all Catholic and Christian communities and leaders to offer practical help to the foreign nationals.
“We call upon all our faithful to offer full support, co-operation and information necessary to the police and community leaders in their defence of those who have been victimised,” Archbishop William Slattery said in a statement.
The FW de Klerk Foundation condemned the acts and called on the South African government to protect the foreign nationals.
“The government has a constitutional duty to ensure that the right of every person in South Africa to be free from all forms of violence is protected and realised – regardless of their nationality, or whether that violence is from public or private sources,” it said in a statement.
Some store owners have sought refuge at various police stations across Soweto.
“I do not have nowhere to go. I am stuck here. I slept in the open last night,” said Lamin Ali, from Ethiopia, earlier on Friday.
“I do not know where will I go. I cannot stay at a police station forever.”