South African Police Service officers prevent residents from blocking a street as they protest against the rise of crime in the area in Diepsloot, South Africa, on April 6, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Johannesburg: One man was killed overnight in an apparent mob attack in a northern Johannesburg township rocked by violent anti-crime protests, South African police said Thursday.

Protests against rising crime erupted on Wednesday in Diepsloot township following reports that seven people had been murdered in the area at weekend.

Angry residents complained that police were not doing enough to stem the crime wave.

Local residents chanting slogans and waving placards marched along the streets, burning tyres and picketed outside the local police station.

At night a small group of people went around demanding to see people’s identity documents, according to police spokeswoman Brigadier Brenda Muridili.

They “went from door-to-door and then when they got to this house, this young man just ran out of the house and they chased him and unfortunately he was killed,” she told public broadcaster SABC.

The broadcaster and other local media said the dead man was from Zimbabwe.

The killing occurred just hours after the Police Minister Bheki Cele and police chiefs visited the area.

Although unrelated to this week’s protests, scores of protesters in Johannesburg have in recent months been staging demonstrations against undocumented migrants in what they have dubbed Operation Dudula - Zulu for “drive back”.

With unemployment at more than 35 per cent, competition for jobs has spawned resentment among some jobless South Africans.

Foreign nationals have also been involved in various kinds of crime across the country.

Attacks against foreigners left at least 62 people dead in 2008, while in 2019 similar clashes left at least 12 people dead, of whom 10 were South African.