Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura says 10 people were killed during stampedes at a Soweto mall on Monday, taking the province’s death toll in riots and looting-related incidents to 19.
Among those killed was a metro police officer in Ekurhuleni. Over 400 people have been arrested in the province so far.
Speaking to the media from Soweto, Makhura called on the looting to stop and said communities must reject the criminality of looting.
“The looting will impact everything,” said Makhura. “It is already hampering the mobility of ambulance services, the delivery of oxygen and the administering of vaccines. This has all been affected by the blocking of roads,” he said.
Makhura said he was saddened that 19 people had died in the province, including 10 people killed during a stampede at the Ndofaya Mall in Meadowlands, Soweto.
“We are losing lives now, businesses are shutting down. All leaders in communities, political parties, religious leaders and civil society, we must all come together and say the looting and the violence cannot take place in our communities,” he said.
“We understand the unemployment situation, but the looting must stop, this is undermining the economy,” said Makhura. He said over 400 people had been arrested for looting and riot-related incidents in the provinces, adding that there was a criminal element which had hijacked the protests.
“Working together we can get this to stop. As we speak now, the looting is continuing. I can't say the situation is under control when the looting is continuing.
“People must stand up and say looting cannot take place in our community because when shops close down or burn down, when those businesses are not operating, it affects the lives of the same people who are working there,” he said.
He also said that the looting was indiscriminate, as it targeted small businesses, big business as well as shops owned by foreign nationals.
“This is a serious setback on our economy. The closing down of small businesses is taking us back in a significant way. The impact on the township economy is quite severe; those affected are not only in big business, dreams are being destroyed,” Makhura said.
“That is why for us, it is important to get this message out that this looting must stop; we have a long way to go to,” he said.
Makhura vowed that those who were planning and orchestrating the looting, the riots and the violence, would be brought to book.