JOHANNESBURG,The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has condemned violence in recent weeks directed at foreign nationals and the destruction of property and appealed to communities across the country to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.

In the latest incident, more than 20 foreign-owned shops were looted in Atteridgeville and surrounding areas of Pretoria on Monday night and in the aftermath of the latest wave of attacks, locals went on the rampage accusing foreigners of stealing their jobs and drug peddling.

A few like Mohammed Monir from Bangladesh, who was still brave enough to operate his shop, said: “I am scared, but where can I go. I have closed the shop. I am selling through the gates and who is going to give me money.”

But others are not taking any chances, saying that Atteridgeville is no longer safe. Pakistani national Mohammed Adnan says: “It’s better if we move from here. To stay here, we will lose our lives and our stock.”

Just like Adnan, many others have already left the community of Atteridgeville. With sporadic attacks on foreign nationals seemingly on the increase, there are fears that it could spread to other areas in Gauteng Province.

Similar attacks have occurred in Pretoria West and in Rosettenville in Johannesburg and the Human Rights Commission has also raised the alarm.

The commission has also called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to police effectively and investigate crimes highlighted by communities.


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