Pretoria - North West Premier Thandi Modise has strongly condemned the "racist and Islamophobic attack" that led to the death of a Muslim man in Ventersdorp.
"There is no place in our diverse society for those who harbour racism and religious intolerance. We call on police not to leave any stone unturned to ensure that those responsible for the death of Ventersdorp resident Muhammad Fayaas Kazi, 27, are behind bars. No hole would be big enough for them to hide," she said.
According to reports, Kazi and his uncle Anser Mahmood were at a fast-food outlet on Monday night when a fight reportedly broke out between Kazi and a group of men after he was mocked over his beard.
The pair was apparently kicked out of the outlet and was then attacked on the street by a third person.
Police arrived at the scene and directed the two men to the Magaliesburg police station, where they planned to lay charges.
Kazi asked to be taken home and his condition deteriorated along the way.
He was treated in Ventersdorp and Potchefstroom before being transferred to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, where he was classified as brain dead on arrival.
He was transferred back to Potchefstroom, where he died on Tuesday. He apparently suffered a subdural haematoma, or traumatic brain injury.
Modise called on residents to help police in their investigations. She also urged them to exercise restraint and to allow the law to take its course.