More than 100 foreigners have fled for their lives in scenes reminiscent of attacks last year in which at least 67 people were killed. The violence has embarrassed a government trying to sell the country as a peaceful venue for next year’s Fifa soccer World Cup.
As anger mounted and the country braced itself for more unrest over the weekend, President Zuma, a populist who won an overwhelming election victory in polls last April, adopted a rare strong stand. He promised help for the townships, but warned that violence would not be tolerated.
Mr Zuma, who also faces a wave of public sector strikes, declared: “There can be no justification for violence, looting and the destruction of property or attacks on foreign nationals residing in our country.
“Our constitution allows our people the right of freedom of assembly and expression and to protest where they feel they need to, but this must be done within the ambit of the law,” he added.
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