'Protect our malls': Residents form human shields amid Gauteng, KZN violence

Residents started forming human chains around local establishments in areas including Mahikeng, Tembisa and Soweto to protect them from the onslaught.

 Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited Chris Hani Crossing and Meadwolands in Soweto during recent violent protests in parts of Gauteng. Picture: Twitter/@GautengProvince

JOHANNESBURG/SOWETO - Pimville residents in Soweto are not standing back as the looting and violence continues in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

They have formed a human shield around Maponya Mall to prevent sporadic incidents of looting.

So far, the death toll in the crime wave has risen to 72 between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng overnight and over 1,200 people have been arrested.

Community members braved the cold weather and spent the whole night guarding the shopping centre to protect what is left of the township economy

Group leader Nhlanhla Lux said: “

They are stationed at the main entrance of the mall and say no criminals would be allowed there.

It appears that they are on their own as not a single police car can be seen despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement this week that there will be more boots on the ground to restore peace to affected areas.

Residents started forming human chains around local establishments in areas including Mahikeng, Tembisa and Soweto to protect them from the onslaught.

One man joined his local community policing forum in Ga-Rankuwa north of Pretoria on Tuesday night.

“As communities, I think we said, let us go and make sure that we protect what we have. Not protect in terms of fighting people and so on, but of doing what you call a neighbourhood watch in connection with the police,” he said.

JOBURG SOUTH

Johannesburg Metro Police on Wednesday said looting continued in the south of the city while people tried to barricade roads in the CBD overnight.

Metro cops managed to stop hostel dwellers who tried to barricade the road with rocks in Selby.

But in the south of Johannesburg, the JMPD's Xolani Fihla said looters continued to take what they could.

“In the south of Joburg, there were reports of looting, but it did quiet down, and a large number of people were arrested throughout the city for failing to comply with the curfew. Officers, province security and the military are still on the ground monitoring problematic areas, and the public is still urged to exercise extreme caution,” Fihla said.

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