Police Minister General Bheki Cele meeting with headmen from hostels in Jeppestown.
Police Minister General Bheki Cele meeting with headmen from hostels in Jeppestown.

Bheki Cele blames Joburg violence on Cleveland and Denver hostel dwellers

By Chulumanco Mahamba And Yethu Dlamini Time of article published Sep 4, 2019

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Violence continued to spread across Gauteng yesterday as police announced that 189 people were arrested and five killed since violent attacks and looting started on Sunday.

Police Minister General Bheki Cele confirmed that five murders were reported since Sunday, two in Coronationville, two in Hillbrow and one near a hostel at Jeppestown.

He spoke during a media briefing at the Jeppe Police Station on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, looting and violent attacks had foreign nationals urging the government to immediately find a solution.

This comes after over 40 shops in Alexandra alone were looted on Monday night, forcing shop owners to flee.

There was heavy police presence outside Alexandra’s Pan Africa Mall while shop owners were moving their goods out of the shop.

This while dozens of looters threatened to invade the shops.

Mohmb Moshlb, a Bangladeshi national who has been living in South Africa for 14 years, said he lost about R4million that he had hidden in his shop.

“They came and took everything. I was inside my shop and police were also here when all this happened but couldn't stop them, they just watched... it was the third time they looted my shop this year.

"The government should really do something about this before lives are lost,” Moshlb said.

A Mozambican street vendor, Mozambique Andries Mhlongo, 36, labelled the looting as "afrophobic and xenophobic" towards foreign nationals.

“They are destroying our properties and steal our products because they think we came in this country to take their jobs.

"How is that even possible? How do you steal a job of a street vendor? If they don't want us here they must chase us away in a correct manner not to burn the shops and our stuff,” he said.

Mhlongo said he came to South Africa in 2001 and has been selling vegetables, fruit and juice on the streets to support his three children and wife in Mozambique.

An armed police officer stands guard in Jeppestown following the violence that gripped the area.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited the township yesterday to assess the damage.

“The looting can't be justified by unemployment. People are just committing crime and must be put in jail, be charged and serve their sentences.

“What I saw here as I was walking around, this looting was orchestrated. It seemed like these people used certain tools to break in the shops."

Cele met with izinduna (headmen) from the Cleveland and Denver hostels in Jeppestown on Tuesday to address the safety concerns hostel dwellers had raised.

According to Cele, the perpetrators of the criminal activity in and around Johannesburg came from these hostels.

He told the large crowd from the hostels that there will be an imbizo on Sunday.

“But we have spoken to the police to say they jack up deployment especially against looting, against the destruction of property and against any form of crime,” he said.

Sphiwe Mhlongo, chairperson of izinduna in Johannesburg, said an agreement was reached that the criminal activity would stop and that there would be no violence.

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