Pretoria: There is a large contingent of police in various areas of Soweto this morning to help control and arrest people who are looting and vandalising shops owned by foreign nationals.
Police have also confirmed that the number of arrested people has increased from 68 to over 120 in the township as the report of looting has spread to other areas such as Diepsloot in the north of Johannesburg and Kagiso on the West Rand.
Several of those arrested are being charged for public violence; one for murder and eight for the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. Eleven firearms have been recovered.
Police say they will be on the ground this morning with more police being deployed in various areas across the township.
SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale says the deployment is being done strategically as they receive intelligence.
“Police from various police stations had to be called back from their rest days. Members working administration duties at both provincial and cluster levels were also called in to saturate Soweto with a view of preventing further looting from taking place,” Police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said.
Makgale said they have also identified hotspot areas in Naledi, Jabulani, Dobsonville, Protea Glen and Moroka where deployment has been intensified.
The unrest started on Monday night in Doornkop after a Somali businessman allegedly shot dead a teenager suspected of trying to rob his shop.
The premises were vandalised and looted later that day and the violent attacks spilled over to other areas such as of Soweto including Doornkop, Dobsonville, Meadowlands, Diepkloof, Protea Glen and Rockville.
Yesterday, police had their hands full trying to quell tensions after violence flared up again in the afternoon as some school children joined in the looting after school.
Police are adamant that the vandalism is pure criminality and has nothing to do with xenophobia.
“We urge people to allow the law to take its course.”
Community leaders have also come forward in numbers calling for calm and they are also assisting shop owners that are affected by the looting.
Police are also assisting shop owners in the affected areas. They have recovered goods worth thousands of rands which had been stolen from some of the shops – which include fridges.
“We have advised the owners to close but it is their prerogative to remain open. We want to bring this situation under control as soon as possible but most importantly, we need to identify the instigators. We do not believe that this looting can just take place uncoordinated. ”
A further update will be provided by the police at noon.
SOURCE: South African Official News