13 arrested for West Rand looting, Soweto remains calm

President Jacob Zuma has instructed the security cluster in Cabinet and provincial and local leaders to bring the  looting in Soweto under control.(Gallo)

President Jacob Zuma has instructed the security cluster in Cabinet and provincial and local leaders to bring the looting in Soweto under control.(Gallo)

More than a dozen people were arrested overnight in Kagiso, on the West Rand, following violence and looting of foreign-owned shops, Gauteng police said on Saturday.

“We had a few people trying to loot,” Warrant Officer Solomon Sibiya said.

“We had about 13 arrests, of which six were minors who were released into parental custody.”

They would appear in court soon to face charges of public violence.

Sibiya said that no “major incidents” were reported overnight and that the area remained quiet up until 9.30am on Saturday.

Looting of foreign-owned shops in Soweto began on Monday when a Somalian man allegedly shot dead a 14-year-old boy accused of being part of a group trying to break into his store.

The shop owner is expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on a charge of murder on Monday.

Drugs to blame
Gauteng police commissioner Lt-General Lesetja Mothiba said the looting had since spread to Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, and Kagiso.

Mothiba said youth addicted to drugs were identified as those looting shops. 

“They targeted specific items such as prepaid airtime vouchers, cigarettes and cash,” he said.

Sibiya said a 61-year-old bystander died when a foreigner fired at a crowd stoning his shop in Swaneville on Thursday night.

The man was shot in the chest and died on arrival at hospital. No arrests had been made and a murder case had been opened.

Also on Thursday, in Tshepisong, a man was wounded while allegedly trying to break into a spaza shop belonging to a foreigner.

“As soon as they managed to open the roller door, the owner came out with a firearm in his hand. He then fired shots directed at the crowd.”

The group scattered. Sibiya said one of them was wounded in the upper body. He was taken to hospital in a stable condition. The injured man’s age was not clear.

“The foreign national… was arrested and detained at Kagiso police station. The firearm used was also confiscated.”

Soweto calm

Meanwhile the South African Police Service said on Saturday morning there were no major incidents reported overnight in Soweto. 

“It was very quiet overnight and this morning, no major incidents reported,” national police spokesperson, Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale said on Saturday. 

A business robbery had been reported overnight, but it appeared to be unrelated to the violence, in which at least three people have been killed and 162 arrested, said Makgale.

“We remain on the ground, keeping an eye, just to make sure law and order are maintained,” he said.

President Jacob Zuma has instructed the security cluster in Cabinet and provincial and local leaders to bring the situation under control.–Sapa

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