KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele, left, claims that the xenophobic attacks were well coordinated.
He also says it was strange that the attacks occurred just before the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
"The government has resolved to bring the full weight of the law to bear on those who perpetrated these criminal acts, and to do all it can to ensure the right to safety and security of all law-abiding people in South Africa," Ndebele says.
"It is not in the character of South Africans to be xenophobic.
"The government has called on our communities to be vigilant and to avoid being manipulated by provocateurs who seek to exploit people's fears and concerns.
"It is unthinkable that the recent spate of attacks were spontaneous. We will not tolerate these attacks on foreign nationals."
Ndebele says the African Renaissance, which he chairs in the province, is a platform for dialogue and debate and must be valued.
"Without serious debate there would hardly be anything," he says. "A body of knowledge is developed through debate. But theory without practice and practice without theory does not take us very far.
"So a merger of the two is important. Whatever you debate must be implemented."
He says the African Renaissance must take off at district and local level in the community.
"The African Renaissance is being spearheaded by the government but it is not a government programme," Ndebele says. "It is a civil society programme and that society is an important driver of the programme."
Ndebele says in October this year South Africa will host the World Conference for All People of African Origin at which the African Renaissance will be debated further.