Gauteng violence largely 'under control' after looting: David Makhura
Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the situation had stabilised in the province by Thursday after days of violence and looting in which seven people died and 423 people were arrested.
Foreign nationals were targeted in many of the incidents.
The arrests were made for offences ranging from public violence to possession of housebreaking implements, housebreaking with intent to steal and theft.
Makhura and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina were at pains on Thursday to describe the attacks as being largely criminal in nature, and not xenophobic.
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Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela said the first death occurred in Pretoria when taxi driver Jabu Baloyi was killed during an apparent confrontation between taxi drivers and alleged drug dealers last Tuesday.
Mawela said two burnt bodies were discovered in Alexandra on Wednesday in two locations, a book store and a furniture shop.
He said another person was killed in Hillbrow when a rock was thrown at protesters.
There were also two people shot dead in Coronationville by shopkeepers.
Another person was shot dead, allegedly by a shopkeeper, during a looting incident in KwaThema in Ekurhuleni on Wednesday. Yet another person was injured during the same incident
Mawela, Makhura and Masina were briefing the media on the violence and looting of shops in the province and what government and police had done to restore peace and stability.
Makhura said the situation in Gauteng had stabilised with only sporadic incidents of violence in Katlehong on Thursday.
"The situation has now come under control."
Makhura said the situation had been worsened by the spread of fake news on Wednesday, which had brought uncertainty to communities.
“Ekurhuleni was made worse by fake news yesterday,” he said.
He was referring to a video which went viral on social media on Wednesday, where an Ekurhuleni metro police officer asked parents to come to fetch their children from schools because foreign nationals were "coming to school", ostensibly to attack the children.
This traffic warden is raising unnecessary alarm, worse she is not even authorized to communicate. Hopefully @City_Ekurhuleni MPD @SAPoliceService communicate facts on this incident @Vernon242 @Abramjee @PrezSankara @GP_CommSafety @GautengProvince @sibumabena @osipuka pic.twitter.com/kO5wYz5fde— Nogada wePhondo laseGauteng (@Yoliswamakhasi) September 4, 2019
Makhura said education MEC Panyaza Lesufi spent a large part of the day on Wednesday assuring the community of Katlehong that there was no disruption at schools after the video was shared.
"The officer of the law circulated the video that caused the panic. That was fake news. There were no Somalis or Pakistanis who went to school to kidnap people."
Makhura said there were sporadic incidents in a number of areas on Wednesday evening.
“Overnight yesterday, a number of areas in Ekurhuleni including Tembisa, Kwa-Thema, Daveyton and Katlehong...
“In some instances they were able to break into shops and loot, but in many areas the police and metro police came and people were able to run away,” Makhura said.
Makhura said he was confident that the situation in Katlehong would be brought under control.
Masina said a decision was taken to suspend the officer who circulated the video because it plunged the city into crisis.
Masina described what took place in the past few days in Ekurhuleni as incidents of criminality.
"The issue here in our view is that there is criminality and law enforcement is doing everything possible to bring peace into the community," Masina said.
Makhura also said he was was concerned by the impression created that it was only the shops owned by foreign nationals that were looted.
"In Katlehong and Thokoza, there were many attempts to get into malls and get into supermarkets. It was not just targeting the shops owned by foreign nationals.
"It is important to note that even in Jeppestown, in Malvern, the shops that were targeted on Sunday included shops owned by South Africans."