A foreign business-owner with some of the little of his stock after his shop was looted. Picture: Yethu Dlamini

Johannesburg - Foreigners in Alex fled the volatile area on Tuesday as sporadic attacks on foreign-owned shops spread to the densely populated township.

The owners bundled whatever they could salvage from their looted stores and fled the area that was becoming volatile by the minute.

They said the looting started around 9pm on Monday night. The looters, they said, took everything and they had to watch helplessly.

A shop owner from Bangladesh said he did not understand why his shop was looted as he was not conducting an illegal business.

All he was doing was trying to make a living to support his family back home, he said.

Him and neighbouring shop owners remained in their shops since last Monday night and only went to sleep at 4am on Tuesday.

He said they were awoken up by the sound of gunshots and people's screams. They then took whatever was left from the looting and left the area.

Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said police had to use stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse groups of people who were attempting to break into stores. 

“The situation is calm but tense as police are up in arms trying to restore calm in the area after a group of people were looting shops,” Makhubele added. 

He further added that police have arrested at least six suspects during the process. 

Makhubele said it was unclear when the looting started but that it could have been in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

“The are no damages to property that were reported, but should there be anyone whose property was damaged during the incident, they must report the matter to us,” Makhubele said. 

The looting in Alexandra follows the looting series which started in Malvern where over 50 motor vehicles were set alight along Jules Street after Jeppestown residents went on a rampage following the death of three people who had died during a building fire.

The lootings then spread to other parts of the province including Turffontein, Tembisa, Johannesburg CBD, Pretoria and Hillbrow on Monday. 

The Star