He was addressing students at the Tshwane University of Technology’s main campus in Pretoria.
“It is not acts of xenophobia, these are acts of criminality, they are acts of tribal battles. And you think all these things are happening because of xenophobia, that is not the case.
“Criminals are seizing the opportunity to do what they are not supposed to do. That’s why we are saying police must act very harshly against criminals”, said Magashule.
Foreign-owned shops have been looted for days across Gauteng and dozens of people are behind bars.
At least seven people have now been killed in the violence in the province.