Gauteng Premier David Makhura is currently visiting Alexandra township north of Johannesburg to see the damage caused following Monday night’s looting of shops.
Eight people have been arrested after several shops were looted. Makhura is accompanied by Gauteng police commissioner, Elias Mawela and Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko.
Makhura, who says there’s an underlying xenophobic sentiment to the attacks, has appealed for calm:
“We are calling for calm. Nobody should take the law into their own hands. These are very well organised criminal syndicates because you can see the kind of stuff they use to break into the shops. I want to repeat this cannot be justified by unemployment or people who are unhappy. This can’t be justified. We are a self-respecting democracy.”
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the looting and burning of shops was aimed at tarnishing South Africa’s image and undermining the authority of the state.
Mapisa-Nqakula’s comments follow widespread looting of foreign-owned shops across Gauteng. The looting started in Tshwane last week before it spread to Johannesburg.
About 70 suspects have been arrested since the looting started in Jeppestown on Sunday and escalated into Malvern, Tembisa, the Joburg CBD and Alexandra.
Mapisa-Nqakula says there’s an urgent need to improve intelligence gathering:
“All that is required is for the security forces to be better organised, well organised and see the signs in good time. When these sorts of things are going to happen there are early warning signals. Our own intelligence services have had their own challenges. However, you are also aware there’s new leadership.”
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