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ANC slams JHB CBD violence as acts of criminality

The unrest began on Sunday in Jeppestown and has now spread to areas including Turfontein, Ekurhuleni and Pretoria.

FILE: ANC secretary general Ace Magashule at the post-NEC media briefing on Tuesday, 30 July 2019, at Luthuli House. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has condemned the violence and looting of shops in various parts of the country and called on police to take action against what it says are acts of criminality.

Secretary general Ace Magashule held a briefing at Luthuli House on Monday afternoon amid heightened tensions in the Johannesburg city centre after a day of mass looting as people ransacked several stores.

The unrest began on Sunday in Jeppestown and has now spread to areas including Turfontein, Ekurhuleni and Pretoria.

Magashule said this was not acceptable.

“We condemn this violence that’s taking place, irrespective of whatever reasons people want to give, as unacceptable. We further said this is a time for all South Africans to come together and we’re saying the police must act because we see some of these activities as simple acts of criminality.”

CELE MEETS RINGLEADERS

The City of Johannesburg and surrounds have seen an afternoon of looting with police battling large crowds who have looted foreign-owned shops.

Motorists have seen their cars stoned with emergency services also withdrawing from some areas on Monday.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said he would meet with ring leaders in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

Cele said more police officers would be deployed to attend to what he’s described as a national emergency.

“There was some smoke here, we went down there to see what’s happening and we found a group of people who told me to go see induna (the ring leader). I saw the induna and we’ve arranged for a meeting tomorrow.”

Some foreign nationals who own shops in the Joburg CBD have been forced to vacate their stores for fear of being targeted overnight.

Foreign business owners in Jeppestown said they have been left with no choice but to move their assets to a safe place tonight.

“They’re breaking in and they want to take our things, we don’t have to stay.”

Some of the business people are being assisted by officers to move their possessions.

The unrest which erupted overnight is still very evident with some cars that were set alight still abandoned on some streets.

A group of people have continued to target shops on Monday afternoon while officers continue to patrol the area.

Residents living in the inner city have been urged to keep safe and to say indoors as the sun goes down.

PURE CRIMINALITY & FEAR

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has described the mass looting in the inner city as “nothing but pure criminality” and said the city was working with police to clamp down on the action.

More than 40 people have been arrested since the unrest broke out yesterday.

The situation remains on edge with police trying to bring some sort of stability.

Pockets of sporadic volatility continue to erupt in some areas of the CBD.

Meanwhile, Joburg Emergency Services said the chaos in the CBD has created fear and panic among its staff members who were expected to respond to incidents.

Earlier, firetrucks were pulled out of the Bree Street Taxi Rank where a store was on fire for safety reasons.

EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said: “We also commend our brave firefighters last night by risking their lives to try and control the situation. But I must confess that the situation is creating fear and panic amongst emergency services personnel because they don’t know if they will come back safe from the emergency service.”

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