Tzaneen foreigners fear looting

21.01.2014 Police personnel remove material that was used to barricate one street in Kubjana village near Relela, Limpopo. Picture: Itumeleng English

21.01.2014 Police personnel remove material that was used to barricate one street in Kubjana village near Relela, Limpopo. Picture: Itumeleng English

Published Jan 31, 2014


Tzaneen - Foreign shop owners trading in Relela and Kubjana outside Tzaneen in Limpopo on Friday feared that protesters who looted their shops would return to help themselves to the rest of their stock.

Some shops were looted on Thursday amid protests by residents, demanding the arrest of people who brutally killed a 20-year-old woman last week.

A Sapa correspondent on the scene said shop owners had moved to the outskirts of the village with some of their stock packed in their cars.

The murdered woman had her hand removed, and her cellphone and house keys were placed inside her stomach which had been ripped open.

Her arms had been tied behind her back.

Two people were taken in for questioning but later released.

On Friday, life in the two villages had come to a standstill with some schools closed, police satellites unoperational and taxi routes disrupted.

On Thursday, residents of Kubjana torched the house of a businessman suspected of kidnapping a three-year-old boy.

The boy was found dead in the boot of the man's car. Two other children were found unharmed in his vehicle.

Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe on Wednesday said the body was discovered on Wednesday evening after the car's owner called the police.

“The three had locked themselves in the car while playing for hours and they were found by the owner when he got back from work.”

Ngoepe said the owner noticed that the car's lights were on and he called the police.

Residents clashed with police who responded at the scene and threw stones at them.

Three people have died amid the protests in the area.

The first of three villagers to die was Tshepo Baloyi, 15, who was killed on Saturday morning.

On Tuesday, Clearance Molele and Stanley Selowa died after being shot, allegedly by police officers

Selowa's wife Dikeledi said her husband had died heading to an EFF meeting, hoping to see Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.

“He didn't even care about what the villagers were protesting about. All he wanted was to meet Malema face to face for the first time in his life, but he didn't know that would be his last day,” said Selowa's widow.

The EFF said it was saddened by the news of Selowa's death.

“EFF sends its heart-felt revolutionary condolences to all who lost their loved ones on the picket lines that day, and in particular to the family of Stanley Selowa who attended with the sole purpose to see the Commander In Chief,” the party said in a statement.

Malema was to visit the Selowa family on Monday.

Scores of police officers have been injured in the unrest, and police vehicles and property have been damaged.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) president Kenneth Meshoe on Friday condemned the violence, saying police and protester clashes had become a regular occurrence.

“It is like SA has become a war zone between the police and citizens. The ACDP firmly believes that where respect is given, respect is earned,” said Meshoe.

“Unfortunately, our SAPS, while it has many fine officers, has not earned the respect of SA citizens.”

Meshoe said incidents such as the Marikana 'massacre', Mothutlung service delivery protest shootings, the Daveyton 'dragging' scandal, had resulted in the police not being trusted.

Meshoe also highlighted incidents such as police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Makhosini Nkosi running a 'massage parlour' which the Sunday Times reported was a brothel and a Randburg constable convicted on 17 counts of rape.

He also said national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, who faced charges of defeating the ends of justice and breaching national security for allegedly alerting a senior manager who was being investigated for being on the payroll of a druglord, and the recent reports of protesters being shot in Tzaneen, had tainted the image of police.

The Human Rights Institute of SA (Hurisa) said it was deeply concerned as some civilians were killed while exercising their constitutional rights to express their frustration with the government.

Spokesman Sipho Mantula said 1200 protests per month since 2008

could be attributed to negative feelings that the advent of democracy had not delivered basic rights and needs.

He called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Phiyega to protect civilians from further killings.

“The minister and national commissioner must prioritise a human rights approach (to) training for police to enable them to have a better understanding ... of civilians in demonstrations.”

He called for better service delivery, the rooting out of corruption, and for crime, poverty and the high unemployment rate to be addressed.


Related Topics: