Attacks on foreigners continued this weekend, with two Ethiopian brothers being petrol bombed on Friday evening.
AFP reports that one of the brothers succumbed to his injuries last night.
“The hospital has informed us that our brother (meaning a fellow Ethiopian) died. They said he died shortly after arriving in hospital,” said Ephraim Meskele, leader of the Ethiopian community in Durban.
Meskele said the other brother had severe burns and was “fighting for his life” in hospital.
“This is like a war zone. It’s like we are in Syria. I have never seen such cruelty,” Meskele told AFP.
According to EWN another five shops were looted on Friday, and a Pakistani family’s business was allegedly destroyed.
KwaZulu Natal police are maintaining a heavy police presence around KwaMashu and Umlazi, and police spokesperson Thulani Zwane says the situation is currently calm.
“The situation was previously tense after a number of people attacked foreign owned shops. They looted and burnt shops down. They also blocked off roads by burning tyres as well as placing rocks which made it difficult for police to respond,” Zwane said.
Over a thousand mostly African foreign nationals have fled their homes in black townships around the eastern port city of Durban since xenophobic attacks and looting erupted two weeks ago.
They are currently housed in makeshift camps, as police and politicians attempt to restore order.
According to Meskele, the Ethiopian community was the worst affected.
Police said the reason for the outbreak in xenophobic attacks was unclear, with contradictory reports about the death toll.
Meskele blamed the police for failing to enough to prevent the orgy of violence and looting of foreign-owned shops in the townships.
“We have heard from our members that some police officers are actually encouraging the looting. That is shameful,” said Meskele.
“There can be no justification”
Violence against African immigrants in South Africa is common, with impoverished locals accusing foreigners of taking their jobs and business.
The government has condemned the violence, with President Jacob Zuma sending a team of officials to assess the situation.
“We reiterate that there can be no justification for attacking foreign nationals,” Zuma said Sunday.
The latest round of xenophobic violence came just months after similar attacks around Soweto, south of Johannesburg.