Police spokesperson Captain Mpande Khoza said children in school uniforms were seen joining the looting of spaza shops.
"Twelve people, mostly schoolchildren, were arrested for public violence," he said.
Banele Xqayiso was shot and killed in White City, while another victim was stabbed to death in the chest with a butcher’s knife in Mofolo.
“A third person was shot in the head in White City and rushed to hospital. In all three cases, three foreign-national shopowners have been arrested. Each will appear in court soon to face criminal charges,” Khoza said.
It later emerged on Thursday morning that the person who was rushed to hospital later died.
It is believed that Xqayiso's early morning trip to buy snuff at one of the foreign owned shops ended tragically when he found himself caught in the crossfire between angry Soweto residents and foreign-national shop-owners.
Xqayiso's relatives said he was shot in the back near his home in White City at about 10am as mayhem broke out in parts of the township over counterfeit and expired food.
His family told The Star that the 23-year-old had gone to a shop and as he was walking out, a group of residents charged in. The shopowner allegedly opened fire, shooting him once in the back.
His sister, Noluthando Xqayiso, said: “Barely five minutes after he went to the shop, a boy came in and said: ‘I think your brother is lying on the floor.’
“I did not know what to do when I saw him lying there cold on the ground. I still don’t believe it,” she sobbed.
Benele was the youngest of five siblings and was raised by his grandparents.
Mpho Maade, a family friend, said: “Banele was the last hope the family had to ensure that there was money coming into the family.”
Shopowner Noor Muhammed said more than 20 men stoned and kicked him until he bled. “I was inside my store and actually we were with the community the whole day. Each and every month we support three or four families by giving them jobs,” said Muhammed.
On Wednesday, The Star reported on raids and inspections conducted in the Ekurhuleni metropolitan are where health inspectors found dozens of non-compliant shops.
Mealie meal, cooking oil, baked beans, tinned fish, snacks, bottled water and baby food, including infant formula, were among many items over which residents have raised their concerns.
The Consumer Goods Council of SA (CGCSA) has called for co-ordinated legislative national efforts to deal with fraudulent, counterfeit and expired food products and other manufactured goods being sold in the country.
“Particularly worrying is the sale of counterfeit foods and beverages to unsuspecting consumers, which poses a serious health hazard,” said the council’s food safety initiative executive Matlou Setati.
“Such products are usually cheaper, which makes them easier to sell. Food fraud continues to be a huge challenge, not only in South Africa but globally as well.
“Food fraud includes actions such as changing date markings such as expiry, best-before date or sell-by once the product has reached its shelf-life period to extend the sale,” added Setati.
Though many videos and pictures have shown Coca-Cola products being sold at these tuckshops, the company said no one had reported the incidents to them.
“Coca-Cola takes every consumer concern seriously and we have procedures in place designed to respond to any matter relating to our products,” Coca-Cola Africa said.
“We are tracking online concerns and urge any person who has had any product that they believe might have been compromised to immediately report it to our customer care line on 0860112526 so we can investigate the matter.”
MMC for public safety Michael Sun urged residents not to take the law into their own hands. He said the city conducted inspections in Maraisburg on Tuesday.
“I urge shopowners and retailers to remove from their shelves any counterfeit and expired foodstuff or goods. The JMPD will continue conducting an operation to rid our community of such practices.”