The South African government refuted claims that foreign nationals in South Africa, and in particular Somalians, are being killed every second day in Cape Town.

“The discourse of Somalian isolation to crime is incorrect,” Xinhua news agency quoted Minister in the Presidency and Chairperson of Inter-Governmental Committee on Migration (IGCM) Jeff Radebe as saying on Monday.

He was responding to claims by the Somali Community Board of South Africa (SCBSA) that Somalian refugees have become the target of crimes as a result of xenophobia.

Crime affects everyone irrespective of nationality or race. This type of isolation may foster strong identification within a community and lead to relatively conflictual relations with other groups, said Radabe.

The SCBSA claims that dozens of Somalians have been murdered in South Africa since the beginning of this year, with most of the murders taking place in Khayelitsha, an impoverished area in Cape Town.

Referring to reports that Somalians are arming themselves in an attempt to protect themselves and their properties, Radebe said firearm owners in South Africa have to be legally licensed and follow the protocols as required by law to obtain a firearm.

The government discourages any attempt by the Somali nationals to cause divisions among community members, Radabe added.

South Africa has been hit by xenophobic attacks over the past few years, with the most recent spate of violence taking place in February this year, in which dozens of foreign-owned shops and businesses were burned down.