Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa says security agencies are on high alert to ensure that threats of violence against any individual are effectively crushed.
Speaking in Pretoria yesterday, Mthethwa said the threats were being monitored and necessary measures would be implemented.
He said there had been a proliferation of businesses owned by foreign nationals in the townships and informal settlements across all provinces.
"Furthermore, there is a sharp increase in anti-foreigner sentiment spreading from metropolitan cities and surrounding townships to smaller towns and rural areas across South Africa."
Mthethwa said tensions between locals and foreigners who own businesses had spawned an ugly element of "criminal involvement, exploitation and manipulation".
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba discredited reports that scores of foreigners who were leaving the country were doing so in fear of xenophobic attacks after the World Cup.
He said those leaving had been here to watch the World Cup.
State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele added that there were instigators who were fuelling the rumours. "We are aware of this and we have information to this extent. We emphasise prevention other than reacting. We believe that South Africans would not engage in such acts."
Mthethwa, Gigaba and Cwele were addressing a meeting of an inter-ministerial committee which was set-up last month in response to the rumours of impending attacks.