Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said government had failed to heed his party’s warnings “over many months that the people of our country were getting restive and restless”.

“President (Jacob) Zuma did not take these warnings seriously‚” said Bloem.

“What we see happening today in Durban‚ Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg‚ among other places‚ arises directly from a government waiting to react to situations rather than taking matters in hand proactively.”

Bloem said his party wants to see the establishment of a “high-powered‚ multi-party committee of parliamentarians…to investigate the concerns and problems of communities where foreign nationals have established themselves as business owners”.

“This problem is bigger than any one political party can resolve. All of us are badly affected and seriously shaken. All of us must work tirelessly to find a lasting solution. We hope the President will listen to us and to all other concerned parties this time and stir himself into assertive action.”Dennis+Bloem