PRETORIA - South Africa's Minister of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, will meet ambassadors from several African countries today to discuss a recent spate of attacks against foreigners in the city of Durban.

The talks come after dozens of people - many from Malawi - were forced from their homes by angry mobs that have also looted shops.

South Africa's unemployment rate has reached more than 27% and many people take out their anger on foreign workers, accusing them of stealing their jobs.

It's a key issue ahead of May's election. The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) says the governing African National Congress' (ANC) policy has failed - with corruption, porous borders and a vast number of undocumented foreign nationals.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni recently spoke of the need to attract highly skilled people and said narrow nationalism led to economic stagnation.

But many more jobs need to be created to help reduce the xenophobia in South Africa.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the latest spate of xenophobic attacks in the country and called on security agencies to arrest perpetrators.

He said the violence, which mostly targeted Malawian and other African nationals, in KwaZulu-Natal was regrettable, "particularly on the eve of Freedom Month" marking 25 years since the country's first democratic elections.

Last week, dozens of people were forced from their homes by angry mobs who also looted shops.

President Ramaphosa said in a statement: "Today, our economy and society benefits from our extensive trade and investment relations with partners on our continent and many of our continental compatriots live in South Africa where they are making important contributions to the development of our country.
Today, our economy and society benefits from our extensive trade and investment relations with partners on our continent and many of our continental compatriots live in South Africa where they are making important contributions to the development of our country.

"African development depends on the increased movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit. We will not allow criminals to set back these processes. African development depends on the increased movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit. We will not allow criminals to set back these processes.”

Mr Ramaphosa said he welcomed Monday's meeting between South Africa's Minister of International Relations Lindiwe Sisulu and ambassadors from several African countries today to discuss the violence.

South Africa's Police Minister Bheki Cele will accompany his International Relations counterpart Lindiwe Sisulu to a crisis meeting with African diplomats later today to discuss the wave of anti-foreigner attacks in the coastal city of Durban, reports the BBC's Milton Nkosi from the commercial capital, Johannesburg.

The attacks are embarrassing for South Africa, as other African states gave refuge to many South Africans during white-minority rule, he adds.

At least two people were killed and more than 100 were displaced in the violence last week, police said.

South Africa's firebrand opposition leader Julius Malema has condemned the spate of attacks on African migrants in the coastal city of Durban, telling his supports: "There is no foreigner that took your jobs. If you fail in business, do not blame other people."

Mr Malema - the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) - took a tough line against xenophobia while on the campaign trail in the North West and Free State provinces ahead of a general election on 8 May.

"I know you call foreign nationals derogatory names, but they are Africans like yourself," Mr Malema said.

"From Cape to Cairo, Morocco to Madagascar. African unity is key," he added.(FA)