Hundreds of foreigners were forced out of their homes and some of their businesses were looted by demonstrators in Durban last week. Some of the immigrants took refuge in police stations and mosques, according to local media reports.
Violence against immigrants occurs when South Africa celebrates 25 years of post-apartheid freedom, the president said, adding that the country owes its freedom to the support of other African countries,
"African development depends on increasing the movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit from. We will not allow criminals to go back on these processes," Ramaphosa said.
In 2008, dozens of people were killed and thousands sought refuge in makeshift camps in a wave of sporadic xenophobic attacks in South Africa.