South Africa: Citizens Organise To Confront Looters, Defend Property
Many citizens have banded together to scare off looters as South Africa reels under its worst unrest in decades.
Triggered by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma last week, after he also failed to appear at a corruption inquiry, protests in South Africa have widened into an orgy of the looting and an outpouring of anger over the hardship and inequality that persist in South Africa for 27 years and after end of the apartheid. More than 70
people have been killed in the unrest, the worst in South Africa for years, and hundreds of businesses wrecked. Food and the fuel supplies are running short. Shopping malls and the warehouses have been ransacked or set ablaze in several cities, mostly in Zuma’s home in the KwaZulu-Natal province, especially the Indian Ocean
port city of the Durban, and the financial and economic centre Johannesburg and also surrounding Gauteng province. But in signs of a public backlash, residents in some areas on Wednesday turned suspected looters over to the police, blocked entrances to the malls and in some cases armed themselves as vigilantes to form
roadblocks or scare them away. In Vosloorus, southern Johannesburg, minibus taxi operators, many of whom have guns, fired bullets into the air to scare off looters. We can’t just allow people from nowhere to come and also loot here, said Paul Magolego, the Vosloorus taxi association spokesman, also adding that taxi drivers
had had no business since the Monday because of the unrest and underscoring the inherent dangers of such vigilantism, a 14 year old boy was killed by a stray bullet in Vosloorus. Magolego said the taxi owners arrived on the scene after he was dead. Citizens armed with guns, many from South Africa’s white minority, blocked off
streets to prevent further plundering, in Durban. Others were forming online groups to help clean up and rebuild devastated neighbourhoods. Security forces say they have arrested more than 1,200 people, while President Cyril Ramaphosa also met political party leaders on the Wednesday to also discuss the unrest. The violence appeared to have abated in some areas, but in others,
there was renewed burning and looting. Government said 208 incidents of looting and vandalism were also recorded on the Wednesday, as the number of soldiers deployed to support police also doubled to 5,000. But Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula later told parliament she had submitted a request for deployment of plus-minus 25,000 soldiers. Troop deployments are authorised by the president.
Residents of Soweto shout slogans in front of Maponya Mall as they protest against the wave of violence and looting that has hit several South African provinces during the past few days
A community member speaks to a group of men and women in an effort to stop them from entering a shopping mall in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg
Police and the military have struggled to quell the violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
Members of South Africa's military, along with community members and members of the police, stand next to stolen goods retrieved from looters in Alexandra, South Africa
A group of suspected looters caught inside a vandalised shop are rounded up and beaten by a group of community vigilantes in Vosloorus
Family members and residents surround the body of Vusi Dlamini, a 14 year old boy who was shot outside a shopping mall in Vosloorus
Community members protect the entrance of the Sky City Mall in Vereeniging from possible looting
Members of the Katlehong People's Taxi Association chase a crowd of looters outside the Chris Hanni Mall in Vosloorus
Community members protect the entrance of the Sky City Mall in Vereeniging
Taxi operators use their vehicles to block the entrance to Ceramic Tile Market CTM and Birch Acres Mall in Tembisa, north of Johannesburg
People hold brooms as others sort rubble while volunteering to clean the Diepkloof Square following looting and vandalism in Soweto