Inside Story

What’s behind South Africa’s violence against foreigners?

South Africa has seen several days of looting and attacks in what President Cyril Ramaphosa calls ‘xenophobic attacks’.

South Africa is once again dealing with a level of violence that has shocked many inside the country and abroad.

Looting and attacks have occurred over several days, mostly targeting foreign-owned businesses in cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria.

At least five people have been killed and police have arrested hundreds of suspects.

The African Union has condemned the violence as a “despicable act”. 


President Cyril Ramaphosa said xenophobic attacks will not be tolerated and are “totally unacceptable”.

But some South Africans blame foreigners for the lack of jobs and economic opportunities.

Several African nations are now advising their citizens to exercise caution while in South Africa.

So can this violence be contained? And is politics at play?

Presenter: Hazem Sika


Dakota Legoete – national spokesman for the governing ANC

Daniel Dunia – coordinator for the campaign group Right2Know

Roshan Dadoo – former director of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa