At least 100 people have been arrested by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in connection with the violent attacks targeting foreigners over the past two days.

South African mobs launched attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians, and looted and burnt their places of business in suburbs of Johannesburg and surrounding areas on Sunday, September 1, 2019, and Monday, September 2.

Three people were also reported to have been killed in a fire started by a mob on an abandoned building in the Jeppestown area of Johannesburg.

SAPS disclosed on Monday that 100 people were arrested and will face several charges including public violence, malicious damage to property, and theft.

The suspects were accused of violence and looting of shops owned by foreign nationals in areas including Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Johannesburg Central.

Nigerian-owned car sales business burnt by South African mob [NAN]
Nigerian-owned car sales business burnt by South African mob [NAN]

Officers arrested 20 suspects in Rossettenville, 35 in Malvern, 10 in Thembisa, 26 in Jeppe, and nine in Germiston.

Officers are also investigating a case of murder following the fatal shooting of a member of the public, although no one has been arrested in connection to that.

"Police are also investigating a case of murder following the fatal shooting of a member of the public. He was allegedly shot by a group of people who had gathered in Hillbrow.

"At this stage police are still interviewing several people to establish the motive for the shooting," SAPS said.

According to the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS), at least 20 people were arrested in connection with the attacks on trucks, truck drivers, possession of firearms and dangerous weapons and blocking of roads in the harbour of Richard's Bay, Malvern (outside Durban) and in the areas of Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Many had reported that the attacks were connected to the widespread violence and looting and had also targeted foreigners.

"These suspects will be brought before courts in their respective areas on a variety of charges including attempted murder, public violence, unlawful possession of arms and ammunition and/or malicious damage to property.

"The NatJOINTS is calling for maximum sanctions to be imposed on all those found guilty in a court of law," NatJOINTS said.

SAPS condemns attack

South Africa's Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has briefed President Cyril Ramaphosa, on the violence and looting in Johannesburg and surrounding areas.

South Africa's Minister of Police, Bheki Cele [SAPS]
South Africa's Minister of Police, Bheki Cele [SAPS]

He condemned the violence and is set to meet with leaders of the affected areas such as Izinduna from the Denver and Cleveland hostels where many of the looters are believed to come from. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 3.

"This meeting is aimed at understanding the plight of the residents and why they are resorting to such criminal activities," a Police statement read.

While meeting Ramaphosa and Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, on Monday, Cele spoke about finding a permanent solution to the attacks.

"We need a multi-pronged approach to deal with this violence, I want to see an engagement of the communities by the Gauteng Premier and provincial political structures to find an end to this criminality," he said.

Nigeria summons South African envoy

Nigeria's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, for a meeting over the attacks on Nigerians.

The two will meet on Tuesday as angry Nigerians continue to call on the Federal Government to take significant actions against South Africa.

Onyeama said on Monday that the Nigerian government will take definitive measures in reaction to the attacks, but the Federal Government has failed to make any further statements.

"Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in South Africa by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection. Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures," he posted on Twitter.

Nigerians have battled xenophobic attacks in South Africa for years, with at least 127 believed to have been killed over the past three years.

While holding a bilateral meeting with Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, on the sidelines of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) last week, Ramaphosa said his government is working hard to end the attacks.

"We feel very upset about that. Obviously, our criminal justice system is working on it. We don't support killings," Ramaphosa said.

The two leaders are expected to discuss the issue at more length during Buhari's official visit to South Africa in October.