Police say they have everything under control in Soweto, after some residents looted shops belonging to foreign nationals.
The incident was sparked after a foreign national allegedly shot dead a teenager and injured another when a group of boys attempted to rob his shop on Monday in Snake Park, near Dobsonville.
The teenager died on the scene and the injured teen was taken to hospital.
The incident sparked violence which saw shop owned by immigrants looted and streets blockaded in the township.
The attacks on shops owned by foreign nationals spread to areas such as Emdeni, Zola, Naledi, Maphetla and Protea Glen, among others.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng Lieutenant General Mothiba said a total of 81 shops have been looted across the township.
Police have arrested 68 people and two injuries have been reported since the incidents of looting and violence started on Monday.
Among those arrested are three Somali nationals who were arrested in Bramfischerville phase two for being in possession of three unlicensed firearms.
The trio were shooting at the community as they were attacking them and looting their shops, demanding they leave the area.
The trio was also found in possession of fake South African identity documents.
The 68 are currently appearing at the Protea Magistrate Court where all the cases of the unrest have been moved. They face charges ranging from public violence, illegal possession of firearm and attempted murder.
In terms of death, police have so far recorded two. One is a foreign national who died in one of the disputes in Zola.
The other is a teenage boy who was shot on Monday by the foreign national, while allegedly trying to rob his shop.
Police also recovered seven unlicensed firearms.
Mothiba said currently the situation is calm – but officers remain on the ground to monitor.
“We assure the public that the situation is calm right now but some groups are still looting.”
However, he said the challenge that the SAPS have is the fact that the shops are informal which makes it difficult for police to go straight to the scene.
He assured that when they get a report about a shop being looted in a particular corner they react and make arrests.
“We are convinced that we have acted sufficiently – managed to bring the situation under control,” said Mothiba.
Escorted by police, most of the foreign nationals, he said, have since left the area of Soweto for their safety.
“We are continuing to escort those who want to leave the area,” said the Lieutenant General.
Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Mabolane, who accompanied Mothiba to the briefing, emphasised that they’re not dealing with riots, but looting which is a criminal element.
“We are dealing with pure acts of criminality, not xenophobic attacks.”
Mabolane said police are arresting anyone involved in criminal activity, from illegal firearms to those looting.
“The groups act sporadically, but there are sufficient members on the ground responding to this.”
Mothiba added that illegal firearms are a serious problem in the country as most crimes are committed using them.
“Majority of illegal firearms were once legal,” he said, before appealing to legal firearm users to look after them before they fall into the wrong hands.
He called on communities to also report those with illegal firearms.
The provincial police said they are planning on how they would police the township for the next three months. There is also an operation centre which is opened and police are keeping a close eye on it. – SAnews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za