Friday 19 January 2018

Anti-immigrant violence kills seven

Shops and cars have been torched in continued anti-immigrant attacks by locals in Johannesburg. (AP)
Shops and cars have been torched in continued anti-immigrant attacks by locals in Johannesburg. (AP)

A ceremony marking the end of apartheid in South Africa has been postponed after seven people died in ongoing attacks on immigrants in the country.

The office of President Jacob Zuma said the ceremony scheduled for next week bestows the country's highest official honour on South Africans and foreigners who have contributed to the country.

His office said it must be postponed so South Africa can mourn the victims of anti-immigrant violence.

The annual ceremony was to be held on April 27, a holiday commemorating the first all-race elections in 1994 that marked the end of apartheid.

Police in Durban say six people died in attacks there. South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper published photographs of a fatal attack in the Johannesburg area on a Mozambican man.

Authorities arrested three suspects in the killing and are searching for a fourth suspect.

Religious groups, trade unions and other organisations plan a march on Thursday in Johannesburg to condemn the anti-immigrant violence.

The attacks stem from a perception that immigrants, many from other African countries, are taking jobs at the expense of South Africans in a country with high unemployment. Many people from other countries have entered South Africa illegally, though the government has said a large number are working legally and contributing to economic development.

South African officials have provided food and shelter to more than 1,000 people who fled their homes and police have arrested more than 300 people, the government said. Charities have helped other fearful immigrants seeking refuge and countries including Malawi and Zimbabwe are arranging for the return of some of their citizens.

Press Association

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