22 Jan 2015 23:30pm
NO NEED FOR LOOTING IN SOWETO: POLICE
There was no need for communities to continue looting shops owned by foreign nationals in Soweto, Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Lesetja Mothiba said on Thursday.
"At this point there's no reason for looting. What has happened since Tuesday is something we cannot explain," he told Sapa at the Moroka police station.
"We want to bring this situation under control as soon as possible but most importantly, we need to identify the instigators. We do not believe that this looting can just take place uncoordinated."
He said the perpetrators of the murder which took place on Monday had already been arrested.
Residents went on the rampage looting shops and attacking foreigners after a teenager was shot dead in Snake Park. Mthetheleli Siphiwe Mahori, 14, was shot dead, allegedly by a foreign shop owner.
He was apparently part of a group that tried to rob the shop.
The violence spilled over to Braamfischerville, Dobsonville, Emdeni, Zola and Protea Glen.
Mothiba said on Thursday members of the SA police service and the Johannesburg metro police department had been called in from across the province.
"Police from various police stations had to be called back from their rest days.
"Members working administration duties at both provincial and cluster levels were also called in to saturate Soweto with a view of preventing further looting from taking place," he said.
A number of foreign nationals had fled to police stations as a place of safety. Some were staying at police stations in Soweto while others were escorted out of the township.
"We have advised the owners to close but it is their prerogative to remain open," he said.
By Thursday night 83 people had been arrested for public violence, one for murder, eight for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition and 10 firearms had been recovered, he said.
One was a policeman caught on camera allegedly taking part in the looting.
Gauteng safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane insisted the attacks were not xenophobia.
She was speaking at a briefing alongside Mothiba, who confirmed two boys had been shot. One of them, a 15-year-old, survived.
Senosi Yusuf appeared in the Protea Magistrate's Court charged with the murder of Mahori. The matter was postponed to Monday for a formal bail application.
The boy who was shot and injured had been discharged from hospital.
A second person was shot dead during looting in Zola on Wednesday night.
He was a foreign national, Mothiba said.
The Star reported that 74-year-old Malawian shopkeeper Dan Mokwena, was attacked and killed as he slept in his shop in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela could not confirm a report in The Star that a second teenager was also killed.
Nhlanhla Monareng, 19, was shot dead when police fired into a crowd gathered at a Pakistani-owned shop in Naledi on Wednesday night. He was a bystander and reportedly friends with the Pakistanis, according to the newspaper.
An operations centre had been set up to co-ordinate the police's operations in the area. Dobsonville station commander, Brigadier Azwindini Nengovhela, said many foreigners had left the area for their own safety.
"All those others who owned tuck shops voluntarily decided to leave."
Makhubela said: "We believe it's calm and police are monitoring the situation."