Sapa, 15 May 2008

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The outbreak of violence in Diepsloot was not due to xenophobia, but some residents "behaving like hooligans", a local ANC representative said on Thursday. "Xenophobia is no longer the issue here, this is pure hooliganism together with criminal elements," said Chris Vondo, ANC secretary at Zone 14 in Diepsloot, north west of Johannesburg. He said that groups of people were looting and breaking down spaza shops - mostly belonging to Somalians - as well as barricading roads, despite a heavy police presence. "People are even drunk now, they are not saying anything about foreigners being in the area, because this is no longer the problem. It's just unruly and destructive behaviour," he said. Vondo said he knew of at least two injuries as a result of mob violence during Wednesday night, but there were none on Thursday. A number of people who have lost their homes, or have left due to fear of attacks, are being sheltered at the Johannesburg Metro Police offices. He said that leadership groups in the area would meet residents later to discuss their issues. "We want to interact with them, and see what the real issue is here," Vondo said. Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula visited Alexandra on Thursday morning to be briefed on the recent xenophobic clashes there.