Over 120 arrests made after Soweto protests

Parts of Soweto including Doornkop, Dobsonville, Meadowlands and Rockville have been gripped by violence.

Police have deployed more officers to hotspots in Soweto to prevent any further attacks on 23 January 2015. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police say 121 people were arrested following days of looting and vandalism in parts of Soweto and other areas in the province.

The police's Solomon Makgale says more arrests were made last night.

"We've arrested people for various crimes, but the main one is public violence. We've also recovered 10 firearms."

Police also confirmed the violence has spread to Boipatong, south of Johannesburg overnight.

Foreign-owned shops in the area were targeted by locals, but the extent of the violence is unclear.

As authorities remain on alert for more possible attacks in Soweto after days of widespread looting, government, political parties and the police's top brass have condemned the violence, urging residents to respect the law.

Spokesperson Donald Liphoko says, "Government condemns violence and destructs other property, community members must refrain from taking the law into their own hands."

Parts of Soweto including Doornkop, Dobsonville, Meadowlands, Diepkloof, Protea Glen and Rockville have been gripped by violence with two people confirmed dead more than 80 arrests made and dozens of foreigner shop owners fleeing the township.

Police have deployed more officers to hotspots to prevent any further attacks.

The unrest started on Monday night in Doornkop after a Somali businessman allegedly shot dead a 14-year-old suspected of trying to rob his store.

The premises were vandalised and looted later that day and the violence attacks spilled over to other areas.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko says strong action will be taken against those who carry out the violence.

Nhleko has appealed for calm.

"We're quite disturbed by these particular activities and we're currently observing a number of these activities as and when they happen. We're calling on our people to observe and respect the law."

Yesterday, police had their hands full trying to quell tensions after violence flared up again in the afternoon.

Officers fired rubber bullets in white city and Meadowlands to disperse the crowds.

There've been no reports of any violent scenes overnight.

After a shift change, a convoy of vehicles has just left the police station in Moroka, heading out to patrol the area.

Reinforcements have been called in with officers being pulled in from rest days.

A briefing from the police is expected to take place later today at which stage the media should get an update on whether there was any further violence overnight.

So far there are no reports of fresh looting this morning, but yesterday there was a flare up once schools were closed.

A few hundred meters away, a shop owner was seen standing outside his shop, the street littered with the remains of looted goods.

When asked whether he thought the mobs would return today, the man shrugged, saying they've taken everything and there's nothing left.

Meanwhile, the latest information from the police is that over 80 people have now been arrested for public violence.

Some people in White City say they didn't hear anything last night, as the looting became less frequent.

Police reinforcements were called into Soweto last night, making some residents feel more secure and while many are rushing to the taxi and bus stops this morning to get to work there are fears that the looting will continue today.

A man says the youngsters in the community used the death of the teenage boy as an opportunity to go on the rampage.

All foreign owned shops are closed today, most of the stores have been vandalised or burnt to the ground.

At the same time, some business owners in Soweto say they feel they've been turned on by members of their own community.

Yesterday, Gauteng Police Commissioner Lesetja announced that many shops are now also being looted in violent confrontations to drive foreign businesses out of the township.


Mothiba says he wants looting in Soweto to completely stop and has vowed to take action against any police officer involved in the crimes.

Provincial police management held a briefing at Moroka Police Station yesterday evening which resulted in more officers being sent to the township.

Mothiba said intelligence officials held a meeting late last night to discuss their plan of action for the whole of Gauteng.

He said troops would be sent out to cover all parts of Soweto as looting was being reported all over the township.

There's also been strong political reaction.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says there needs to be collaboration between communities and entrepreneurs.

As strong political reaction continues to pour in, the DA's's parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says such violence is absolutely unacceptable.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF's) Mandisa Mashego says a social solution is needed to deal with these attacks.

"We actually want to encourage residents of Soweto to discourage this kind of action. We condemn it in the strongest possible way."

To view a timeline of the Soweto attacks, click here.