12 people have so far been killed since the start of the xenophobic attacks a couple of weeks ago. At this particular juncture it’s not yet clear whether the 12 are foreigners or South African nationals.
The minister of police, Bheki Cele confirmed the deaths earlier on today, “The number is 12 but people in South Africa still get murdered, so with that period what helps us to finalise is an investigation into how it happened. The number might go down if we continue with our proper investigations but the number, for now, is 12.”
The minister also said that a total of 639 people had been arrested for various offenses that were in relation to the looting and violence.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry also expressed their concerns over the xenophobic attacks earlier on today.
MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter said even though the company faced disruptions in other markets where retaliatory attacks were carried out, their biggest worry was how the developments were viewed by shareholders.
“I think the most significant negative implication is more around the investor sentiment. MTN Group is owned almost 50% by international investors and so there we will have now a whole other topic to discuss, already on top of other complexities of doing business in these markets.” She further said that the foreign owned shops were also creating jobs for South African locals.
Urban planner and senior visiting fellow at Wits University Dr. Tanya Zack said that, “the Johannesburg CBD alone has an annual turnover of R10 billion which is greater than the largest mall here in South Africa, and this is where we have most of these foreign owned shops.”
However, the ANC issued a controversial statement on the xenophobic crimes. “Our law-abiding citizens are understandably sick of those who are breaking the moral fabric of our society by turning our kids into drug dealers and prostitutes. We urge all South Africans to let the police do their work and refrain from taking the law into their own hands. We reject insinuations that our police force is xenophobic when it comes down hard against certain crimes.”