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UPDATE | SABC crew 'robbed at gunpoint' covering violent Joburg riots

Joburg metro police reported 'continuous riots' in several parts of the city on Sunday morning, including 'shots fired at vehicles' on the M2 freeway.

11 July 2021 - 09:27 By matthew savides
A burnt-out vehicle is overturned in the middle of the road as protests intensified in Johannesburg on Sunday.
A burnt-out vehicle is overturned in the middle of the road as protests intensified in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Image: JMDP via Twitter

A SABC television crew covering the ongoing riots in Johannesburg were victims of an armed robbery on Sunday.

The state broadcaster's group executive for news and current affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni, confirmed that the crew was “robbed at gunpoint” and was “still traumatised”.

Protest action continued into Sunday evening in Johannesburg, with police reporting several incidents of vehicles being torched.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department's Xolani Fihla told TimesLIVE shortly before 6pm that it was likely the protests would continue into the night.

It looks like it's still going to be the same,” he said, adding that police were going to increase their visibility in hotspot areas.

He said that “sporadic unrest and looting” was reported in Hillbrow, Berea and Jeppestown into the evening. The M2 freeway was still closed, and hadn't opened at any point on Sunday between Cleveland Road and Maritzburg Street.

Pictures posted earlier on Sunday showed some burnt-out vehicles overturned in Jules Street, with the JMPD saying that the protests were continuing in Jeppestown, Benrose, Denver, Berea and in the CBD.

“Several roads have been barricaded with burning tyres, rocks and debris. Protesters are marching in those areas. Officers are on the scene. Road users and members of the public are advised to avoid,” the JMPD said.

Earlier it was reported that the violence seen in KwaZulu-Natal — initially linked to support for jailed former president Jacob Zuma — had spread to Gauteng late Saturday night.

One police officer had been shot and two others injured in the violence. Police were also investigating whether the death of a 40-year-old man in Alexandra was linked to the violence.

By Sunday morning, Johannesburg's M2 freeway was closed in both directions in the region of the Denver exit, said JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar.

This after protesters burnt tyres and blockaded the road.

But there were further closures between Benrose and Cleveland due to “continuous riots in the area”, the JMPD said on its Twitter account. There were also “reports of shots being fired at passing vehicles”.

A building was on fire on Jules Street in Jeppestown, seemingly linked to the protests in the area.

Minnaar said that there were also “shops looted and vehicles torched” in the Maboneng and Alexandra areas overnight, but the number of damaged stores and vehicles had not been confirmed yet.

Asked if the protests were linked to those seen in KwaZulu-Natal in support of Zuma, Minnaar said: “I cannot confirm that. All I can confirm is that there has been protest action.”

According to him, the protests started at about 10.30pm on Saturday and continued on Sunday morning. Police were monitoring and responding to the situation.

On Sunday morning the SAPS said a statement on the latest developments was being prepared and would be released soon. This story will be updated when that statement is released.