The anti-immigrant march in Pretoria was a platform to brew violence among Africans, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said on Friday.

“The current debacle pertaining to unemployment and inequality is wrongfully placed and blamed on African brothers and sisters and black people from the developing world. Furthermore, the march against foreign nationals is disingenuous and is a platform for black-on-black violence,” the party said.

“The failure of society ought to be put at the door of the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC has failed to transform the lives of South Africans. In the midst of attempting to confront economic strongholds against black people, white monopoly capital has been left untouched.

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The party urged the police to arrest those who perpetuated the violence and looting of foreign-owned shops in the country’s capital and that residents stop hate crimes against fellow Africans.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) blamed Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba for the tensions in Pretoria after recent violence in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg. Mashaba instructed his task teams to raid Rosettenville earlier this month to root out criminal syndicates and drug lords. At least 80 law enforcement officers and immigration officials joined in the operation.

“We are worried about the reckless statements by leaders, particularly the mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Mr Herman Mashaba. It is unfortunate that these reckless statements are directed to fellow black Africans. We call all the Gauteng citizens to desist from these heinous actions against our African brothers and sisters. We want to remind all citizens that during the liberation struggle our forebears found protection outside South Africa until political freedom was attained,” the trade union federation said.

Government must adopt a “sober immigration policy” and address the problem of unemployment, Cosatu added.

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