Government and FAWU condemn attacks on foreign informal traders in Soweto

The Food and Allied Workers Union has condemned attacks on foreign nationals operating small businesses. This follows Wednesday's violent attacks and looting targeting spaza shops in White City, Soweto.

Three people were killed and at least 27 suspects were arrested for various crimes including murder, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and public violence.

Read: UPDATE: 27 arrested after violence breaks out in Soweto as looters run amok, leaving 3 people dead

The union says that while it supports peaceful demonstrations against illicit trade, it cannot condone violence.

"What we cannot do is to support the attacks on foreign nationals, their killings, damage to or looting of property, and the injury to them and to others caught in the situation. If anything, we call on local citizens to cease with and desist from further attacking foreign nationals," general secretary Katishi Masemola wrote in a statement released on Wednesday.

Community members in White City, Soweto, took matters into their own hands following allegations that foreign nationals were selling expired goods. 

"We believe that every evidence of fake and expired goods, counterfeit and smuggled products, and illegally manufactured foodstuff and other products must be reported to law enforcement agencies, the consumer commission and other authorities," Masemola said.

Communities urged not to take law into their hands

Government says it has noted with concern the escalating incidences of unlawful raids in spaza shops conducted by communities in some parts of the country.

It has appealed to the community to give state agencies and relevant authorities the time and opportunity to deal with their concerns.

ALSO READ: One shot dead, foreign national shops looted in Soweto violence

"Government urges members of communities to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and cooperate with the relevant authorities by reporting or lodging complaints about unsafe goods and products," acting Government Communication and Information System director general Phumla Williams said in a statement on Tuesday.

She added that the alleged sale of expired goods would be addressed.

"We urge the law enforcement agencies to take swift action against establishments that are responsible for manufacturing such goods and products," Williams concluded.