Makhura vows to crack down on looters and ATM bombers
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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has warned that some of the people who looted ATMs at various malls in the province are well-trained and do so using heavy artillery.
Makhura was speaking after conducting a mop-up operation at the Tembisa Mall on Friday.
Tembisa Mall was one of the series of malls in Gauteng which fell prey to attacks since the outbreak of violent protests on Sunday.
In Gauteng, the initial protests broke out near the M2 highway and in the suburb areas of Denver, Jeppestown and informal settlements of KwaMai Mai – it soon spread out to other areas of Ekurhuleni – which forms part of Tembisa.
This morning we are in Tembisa Plaza for our clean-up drive. The drive forms part of our efforts, with business, to bring retail shops back into operation.— David Makhura (@David_Makhura) July 16, 2021
I would like to see the focus of arrests to be on organised gangs, whether political or otherwise. #CleanUpGauteng. pic.twitter.com/4u0dsSWaKu
Tembisa is one of the highly populated areas of Ekurhuleni Metro Council under Mayor Mzwandile Masina. The attackers, armed with an assortment of weapons, destroyed various ATMs belonging to the major banking institutions in the country and situated in Tembisa mall.
The robbers were allegedly also responsible for the looting of 54 retail shops at the malls.
These retail shops, prior to the violent attacks, were contributing R2.5 million monthly in rates and services to the City of Ekurhuleni and were employing more than 800 people in the area.
During his address, Makhura promised that his government and the law enforcement agencies would be on high alert to prevent other similar attacks.
WATCH: Premier @David_Makhura addresses members of the media on the sidelines of the clean-up drive currently underway at Tembisa Plaza. The premier speaks on the importance of businesses and services reopening to rebuild the Gauteng economy. #CleanUpGauteng #CleanUpSA pic.twitter.com/CrdAfSBdtK— GautengGov (@GautengProvince) July 16, 2021
“We do not want another surprise. We are not going to tolerate another form of violence and destabilisation. The law enforcement agencies have the capacity to know if there are any other plans to repeat the attack. We will be on high alert,” Makhura said.
He was grateful to some of the local residents who tipped the police about the presence of a vehicle at the Tembisa which had no number plates. The residents informed the police after they suspected that the vehicle and its occupants were at the mall to trigger the attacks.
According to Makhura, the attacks on the malls were a well-calculated moves, and the priority of the criminals was ATMs.
“Their modus operandi was to attack ATMs. ATMs were being cut through with heavy machinery. They used the equipment until they got to the loot. They then disappeared with the loot,” Makhura said.
He appealed to young people not to participate in the looting, saying his government was increasing its plans to create more job opportunities for them.