Police hunting leaders of Gauteng violence, Alex on lockdown

Police have arrested at least six people in Alexandra after the latest spate of looting and arson attacks.

The aftermath of looting in Alexandra, Johannesburg on 3 September 2019. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN

JOHANNESBURG/ALEXANDRA - Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela said that investigators were searching for the leaders fueling the violence in parts of the province.

Mawela was in Alexandra on Tuesday, the latest township to have been hit by looting and arson.

Other parts of the city have also been targeted from the weekend, including Jeppestown, Malvern, Tembisa, Turffontein and the Pretoria CBD.

Amid concerns whether law enforcement had the situation under control, Mawela said that enough resources had been deployed.

"Our intelligence committee is on the ground searching for the ring leader, that's why we've deployed enough resources on the ground so that we cover all the identified strategic areas."

Meanwhile, the office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura said that they would assist police if there was a request to deploy the South African National Defence Force to hotspot areas.

"The policy is if we need to be augmented and get the support of the SANDF, the premier will be there to assist the South African Police Service to make sure that they do get that."

Meanwhile, police have arrested at least seven people in Alexandra after the latest spate of looting and arson attacks.

Officers were on the scene of several crime scenes where shops were targeted from Monday night into this morning.

A large crowd made off with stolen goods including furniture, electronics and alcohol, while some of the buildings were torched.

Earlier, police fired rubber bullets as they battled to contain the violence.

Parts of Alexandra are on lockdown, businesses have shut their doors and those who were targeted were left traumatised.

The large-scale looting began last night, mere hours after Police Minister Bheki Cele called for an end to the chaos.

Cele was in Jeppestown yesterday following days of civil disobedience.

The streets are filled with burned and looted items as people stand around the township.

Eyewitness News tried to talk to affected business owners but they refused, citing safety concerns.