Police shot and killed a black man Monday when a gang armed with firebombs attacked a police patrol as weekend fighting in black townships left at least 43 people dead.
Police Col. Frans Malherbe said 36 people were killed and 53 injured in the black township of Alexandra in northern Johannesburg, four men were killed in nearby Tembisa township and three in Soweto to the south."The situation remains very tense with lots of angry people out in the streets. Police are doing everything they can to restore peace," he said.
Helicopters buzzed over the township Monday as police vehicles packed with armed troopers moved through the streets. Heavily armed police reinforcements were moved into Alexandra over the weekend in an effort to halt the fighting.
Police said two people were killed Monday. One man was shot to death when a police vehicle was attacked with firebombs. Another man was hacked to death in factional fighting. No officers were injured, police said.
Fighting began in the township before dawn Saturday between Zulus tied to the conservative Inkatha Freedom Party and Xhosas and other blacks loyal to the African National Congress. The two groups oppose apartheid but are divided by political and traditional differences.
ANC and Inkatha leaders held weekend talks to try and halt the killings. Both sides urged security forces to keep supporters of the two groups at a "safe distance" and end the fighting.
The head of the ANC delegation, Popo Molefe, said Sunday that both sides concluded that reinforcements were necessary but that security forces must exercise restraint.
"General loose action against the people . . . can only fuel the violence," he said.
His Inkatha counterpart, Musa Myeni, said: "What we are concerned about is the protection of human lives."
Neither would say what led to the Alexandra fighting, in which people fought with guns, knives and sticks.
Inkatha members who live in a township hostel accused ANC supporters in a nearby squatter camp of starting the fighting. ANC supporters made similar claims.