Tshwane residents lauded for anti-looting stance
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Pretoria - Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, yesterday applauded residents, taxi organisations and businesses in Soshanguve for coming together to make sure that no looting or vandalism of property took place in the area.
Nzimande was accompanied by Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo as well as Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on a walkabout to Soshanguve, where he thanked residents at Soshanguve Crossing Mall yesterday afternoon.
He said from the bad scenes the country had witnessed in recent days, it was also important to show the rest of the country how the community in Soshanguve and many other stakeholders had stood together to say "down with looting and no to the destruction of their malls."
"This must be an example for all other communities in South Africa that indeed, we can be able to save our malls and thus defend our livelihoods."
Nzimande said they decided to visit the Soshanguve Mall as it was one of the biggest malls in Tshwane, employing up to 1300 workers and was also a major taxi junction.
If anything, Nzimande said he was more worried about the threat of food security, particularly in areas where malls had already been destroyed.
So far, he said they had already received reports that students and the community in places such as eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg were already going hungry.
"What is worse, the prices of necessities have gone up even though they are not supposed to, but because people are exploiting the fact that there are few places to buy necessities, this is occurring, which is worrying.
"We want to say to our people you are not people who should be abused just because you are hungry and facing unemployment to the extent that you destroy things you should be defending, and Soshanguve is a good example of that.
Nxesi added that taking into consideration the impact that the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic already had on industries like hospitality, restaurants, arts and tourism, the country was already facing serious issues of workers losing their jobs.
"More people have lost their livelihoods, and it is unfortunate we can't quantify that, but we will be looking at that taking into consideration the malls that have been destroyed. But, we need that stability to make a proper assessment and look into what plans to put in place to mitigate against that, working together with different stakeholders.
Mamabolo said there had been many other examples across Tshwane where industries like the taxi industry had stepped in to help protect the communities infrastructure and businesses.
He it was equally as important for them to be part of the solution as they would ultimately be affected by the loss of business in their areas and be forced to encroach on other routes.
Meanwhile, in the Pretoria CBD, taxi drivers and informal traders took to the streets denouncing looting and vandalism and urging businesses to remain open and trade as normal.