Two people have been killed in Johannesburg, police confirmed Monday, bringing to 12 the number of deaths since violence against foreign-owned shops erupted last month.
Xenophobic: 12 dead as South African attacks on foreign shops continue

Bands of South Africans launched violent attacks against foreign-owned shops and stalls, looting and burning the small businesses and attacking some of the shopkeepers.

Police spokesman Kay Makhubela confirmed that two people suspected to be foreigners were killed in the violence Sunday night and said that at least 640 people have been arrested since the violence erupted last week.

The nationalities of those killed have not been announced but Nigerians, Ethiopians, Congolese and Zimbabweans have been attacked, according to local media.

The attacks appear to be spreading throughout Gauteng, the country's most populous province encompassing the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Police minister Bheki Cele on Monday met with executives of major South African businesses, including the retailer Shoprite and MTN, a mobile phone and internet provider, whose operations were targeted in retaliatory attacks in Lagos, Nigeria, last week. The executives expressed concern that the violence in South Africa is hurting their operations in other parts of the continent.

"The implications of the situation in South Africa are really profound. They have affected us in other countries in which we operate," said MTN group CEO Rob Shuter. The MTN group is owned almost 50% by international investors, some living in London, Boston and New York, he said.

The Nigerian demonstrations forced South Africa's consular offices in Lagos to close. South Africa's foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor is scheduled to meet with African ambassadors in Pretoria Monday as the government attempts to put out the diplomatic fallout from the attacks.

Nigerian president Mahummadu Buhari is scheduled to visit South Africa on a state visit in October, and the attacks against Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are expected to be on the agenda.

S.African leader condemns Johannesburg violence after two killed

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday condemned weekend violence in Johannesburg that claimed two lives after security forces clashed with looters involved in fresh xenophobic attacks.

At least ten people have been killed since the start of the month in a surge in attacks targeting foreign-owned businesses in and around South Africa's largest city.

Riot police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets on Sunday to disperse crowds targeting shops in Johannesburg's gritty central business district and other neighbourhoods.

Ramaphosa "has condemned in the strongest terms a resurgence in public violence that claimed two lives in Johannesburg yesterday," the presidency said in a statement.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari will visit South Africa next month to reinforce the bonds between the two countries after a wave of deadly riots and xenophobic attacks, the South African presidency said on Saturday.

South Africa's MTN Group and supermarket chain Shoprite have closed all stores and service centers in Nigeria after their premises were attacked.

Those attacks followed days of riots in South Africa that mainly targeted foreign-owned, including Nigerian, businesses.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday at least 10 people had been killed, two of them foreign nationals, in violence that began in Pretoria and spread to nearby Johannesburg.

Buhari will make a state visit to South Africa in October to help develop responses to the challenges in both countries after Ramaphosa held discussions with Nigeria's special envoy, the presidency said in a statement.

"The special envoy conveyed President Buhari's concern at recent events in South Africa, in the context of the strong and cordial relations that characterize the interaction between the two countries," the presidency said.

It said Buhari's government planned to act against the targeting of South African assets in Nigeria and reaffirmed relations with South Africa.

The violence in South Africa has stoked concerns about relations between Africa's two biggest economies. Nigeria said on Thursday it would recall its top diplomat to Pretoria.