Soweto looting: 27 arrests, 3 dead, police on high alert

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Police remain on high alert this morning monitoring the incidents of looting, violence and general lawlessness that have left three people dead and 27 arrested in some parts of Soweto.

Police have intensified deployments and will remain on the ground monitoring the situation closely to ensure that law and order are maintained, said Acting National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Lebeoana Jacob Tsumane, who condemned the incidents on Thursday.

“Taking the law into your own hands is tantamount to anarchy and as the police, we will not stand by and let lawlessness to reign.

“I am calling on the community leaders and the community at large to reclaim their streets by partnering with the police in the fight against any criminality,” said Tsumane.

On Wednesday, multiple shops belonging to foreign nationals were looted by residents during sporadic attacks in White City, Jabulani, Dobsonville, Naledi, Protea and Protea Glen.

Goods, including groceries worth thousands of rands, were reported stolen after the first incident broke out in White City over expired food being sold in foreign-owned shops.

Most foreign shop owners have packed up and left Soweto, while some victims have sought refuge at Moroka police station.

Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, who condemned the incidents, said during the violent attacks and the looting three people were killed in White City. There is also another person in hospital being treated for a gunshot wound.

Dlamini said they have arrested at least 27 suspects for various crimes including murder, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and public violence.

Two unlicensed firearms were also seized and more arrests are expected.

“More arrests can be expected as police embark on operations to apprehend those responsible for perpetuating lawlessness, and also to retrieve the stolen property,” he said.

Government has encouraged the public to seek lawful means to engage or address issues of public interest.

While noting with concern the escalating unlawful looting, government reiterated that such activities are unlawful and criminal in nature.

“Government urges members of communities to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and co-operate with the relevant authorities by reporting or lodging complaints about unsafe goods and products.

“Relevant government entities, including municipalities, have embarked on a process of inspecting small businesses, including food outlets and spaza shops. We, therefore, appeal to members of the public to cooperate by reporting fake or substandard goods,” Acting GCIS Director-General Phumla Williams said.

Williams added that government has a zero-tolerance approach to corrupt activities and the selling of fake items falls within corrupt activities and robs the people of their human dignity.

She said substandard and fake goods, especially consumables, carries potential risks and danger to human health.

“We urge the law enforcement agencies to take swift action against establishments that are responsible for manufacturing such goods and products,” Williams said, while appealing to communities to allow relevant departments and other state agencies an opportunity to address the ongoing concerns.

People who may have witnessed these incidents are urged to report to police by calling the Crime Stop 08600 10111 or reporting to the nearest police station. –