ANC, DA call for calm after violence erupts in Soweto, leaving 2 dead

The DA and ANC have called for calm and have condemned the violence that erupted in Soweto, Johannesburg on Wednesday in which 15 people were arrested and two were killed.

DA police spokesperson Zakhele Mbhele said any form of xenophobia was unacceptable and "has no place in our diverse society".

Mbhele has called on the police to act with restraint and to manage the situation in a professional manner.

"Added to this, the SAPS' inability to perform public order policing in a professional manner may lead to avoidable fatalities," Mbhele said.

Violence broke out during protests in the Johannesburg suburb on Wednesday afternoon. Several foreign-owned spaza shops were looted.

READ: 15 arrested after violence breaks out in Soweto as looters run amok, leaving 2 people dead

The City of Johannesburg's Public Safety MMC (member of mayoral committee) Michael Sun said earlier that it was believed that the violence was sparked by "accusations that shop owners within the community had allegedly been selling counterfeit and expired goods to members of the community".

This came a day after the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) conducted an operation dealing with shop owners who sold expired food to the public in another part of the city, he said.

The ANC also said it was "concerned with the surge of illicit sale of expired and fake consumable goods and potentially-harmful food products".

Despite several videos of expired and fake foods doing the rounds on social media, it was never confirmed.  ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has urged community members to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.

"South Africans must remain vigilant," Mabe said.

Sun confirmed on Wednesday evening that 15 people had been arrested.

Sun, who went to the Moroka police station to confirm details about killings and the arrests, said one person died after he was shot in the head and another had been stabbed to death.

Sun said three people have been arrested for murder and the possession of unlicensed firearms.

He said 12 others were arrested for public disorder.