Outrage over Soweto looting
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Cape Town - A number of organisations and political parties expressed outrage on Friday at the continued looting of foreign-owned shops in Soweto, south of Johannesburg.
Both the Democratic Alliance and African National Congress in Gauteng condemned the looting, calling for order.
DA MP Zak Mbhele called on the SA Police Service to dedicate enough officers and resources to the area to restore peace.
He said he would write to Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko to demand better early warning systems and plans to prevent and combat xenophobic violence.
“Prevention is always better than cure,” he said.
The Jesuit Refugee Service SA (JRS) said foreigners and refugees were legally entitled to live in the country and contributed to the economy.
“Any xenophobic attack is an attack on this country and its people,” JRS regional director David Holdcroft said.
He asked for dialogue between church and community leaders, local businesses and foreigners.
“We ask the community to be wary of being used as pawns by some local business owners. Let us look for ways of working together and peaceful co-existence.”
In Soweto, shops owned by foreign nationals were looted following the shooting of Siphiwe Mahori, 14, in Snake Park, on Monday. The boy was apparently part of a group trying to rob the shop.
According to The Star another local teenager, Nhlanhla Monareng, 19, was shot dead, and a Malawian shopkeeper, 74-year-old Dan Mokwena, beaten to death. Monareng was shot dead when police fired into a crowd gathered at a Pakistani-owned shop in Naledi on Wednesday night. He was a bystander and friends with the Pakistanis, according to the newspaper.
The Gauteng branch of the National Association of School Governing Bodies was saddened by the deaths.
It called on all relevant parties to ensure children avoided criminal conduct during and after school hours.
Gauteng police provincial commissioner General Lesetja Mothiba on Friday 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.
Gauteng police said on Friday said they had arrested 153 people on charges including murder, attempted murder, possession of suspected stolen property and fraud. They had retrieved 11 guns, 10 of which were seized from foreigners.
The looting has since spread to Diepsloot, in the north of Johannesburg, and Kagiso, on the West Rand.
President Jacob Zuma had instructed the security cluster in Cabinet and provincial and local leaders to bring the situation under control.