Calm returns to PTA West after a night of violence & looting

Authorities say the situation is now calm in PTA West following a night of violence, tension & the looting of foreign-owned shops.

Back rooms of a house in Pretoria West where foreign nationals stay and that were vandalised. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Police say the situation is now calm in Pretoria West following a night of violence, tension and the looting of foreign-owned shops.

Thirty shops were damaged in Atteridgeville and Lotus Gardens late on Monday night.

The occupants were assaulted by angry residents who claimed the properties were being used as drug dens and brothels.

The police’s Bongi Msimango says, “We’re managing the situation and so far everything is under control. So at the moment, no cases were opened but possibly the complainants will come as time goes on, to open cases.”

Similar scenes played out in Rosettenville in Johannesburg two weeks ago.

IMMIGRANTS LIVE IN FEAR

While the police have increased patrols of Pretoria West following violence at the weekend, immigrants who live in the area say they now fear for their lives.

While the police are keeping a close eye on the situation, residents are scared of another flare-up of violence.

One woman says her South African friends have told her there’s going to be a march sometime this week.

“They say there’s going to be a massive one, so we’re just on the lookout. They say it’s going to be xenophobic attacks and they’re going to be burning Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Tanzanians, Malawians and everyone who’s a foreigner.”

TSHWANE MAYOR ADDRESSES THE SITUATION

The office of Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga has said he will address the concerns of Pretoria West residents who targeted several houses belonging to foreigners.

Msimanga has condemned any use of violence.

The Tshwane mayor’s spokesperson Samkelo Mghobozi said Msimanga was scheduled to meet with the Gauteng Community Safety MEC and the province’s police commissioner.

“Law enforcement must do what they need to do in order to contain the situation and the city will do what it needs to do address the substantive issues people have; chief among them is the use of nyaope in our streets.”

One woman has described how a group of locals went from house to house on Saturday, attacking people.

“They went to that house across that street and they searched, started attacked people inside there. We didn’t know what was happening, it was just rumoured that they are looking for drugs and prostitutes.”

WATCH: Rosettenville on knife’s edge over drugs and brothels in area

ATTACKS 'MISDIRECTED'

The African Diaspora Forum on Monday said residents of Rosettenville and Pretoria West have misdirected their anger towards foreign nationals instead of confronting police, who don’t respond when called.

The forum’s Cyprian Ikani said, “Let us all walk together. We don’t want our people to commit crime, we don’t want our people to be involved in all these things. But at the same time, we want to walk together with the locals.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)