South African police on Saturday said in the latest wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa, three foreign nationals were this week killed in the port city of Durban.
According to South African police, 17 people have been arrested and opened murder cases.
The police said that the cases were opened after locals looted shops owned by foreigners in the townships around the city.
Hundreds of Malawians, Somalians, Zimbabweans and other immigrants have reportedly fled their homes as the tension escalated.
The latest outbreak of violence followed comments by King Goodwill Zwelithini criticising the presence of immigrants in South Africa.
Zwelithini denied making the comments as President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward appeared to support him by saying foreigners “were taking over the country’’.
Three civil organisations, including Lawyers for Human Rights, have now urged Zwelithini to address a public gathering to clarify his stance on the matter.
In a joint statement, Lawyers for Human Rights, Independent Projects Trust and Refugee Social Service said that by addressing the public gathering, the king would correct misinterpretation of his statement.
Meanwhile, Marc Gbaffou, Chairman of the African Diaspora, said “xenophobia is no different from apartheid’’.
“Migrants in South Africa are not here to take away the wealth of this country.
“We are therefore appealing to locals to rather allow foreign nationals doing business here to share business ideas with them.
“We are all Africans and it is therefore important for all of us to work together,” he said.
Over 62 people died in xenophobic attacks that flared up around the country in 2008 which nearly derailed South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.