South African President Thabo Mbeki vowed Monday that police would get "to the root of the anarchy" in the Johannesburg area that has seen 22 killed in a wave of violence directed at immigrants.
"Citizens from other countries on the African continent and beyond are as human as we are and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity," the president said in a statement released late Monday.
Mbeki called upon those behind the "shameful and criminal acts" to stop.
"The law-enforcement agencies must and will respond with the requisite measures against anyone found to be involved in these attacks," he said.
"Already, more than 200 alleged perpetrators have been arrested ... and I am confident that the police will soon make significant breakthroughs in getting to the root of this anarchy," he added.
Mbeki also thanked the public, police and community members who had "lent a helping hand to the victims by, amongst others, offering shelter, clothes and food."
Since the beginning of last week, mobs in poor townships around South Africa's economic capital have killed and beaten up immigrants, with Zimbabweans and other Africans reporting purges by armed locals looking for foreigners.