Looting: Cops blame young nyaope addicts

2015-01-25 15:00

Young drug addicts were the main ­culprits in this week’s Soweto looting, say the police.

A multidisciplinary force made up of the police’s tactical response team, ­public order police, detectives, crime ­intelligence and the visible policing unit has been set up to investigate this week’s chaos.

Metro police, community policing ­forums and local councillors are working with them to restore calm. National ­police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said preliminary ­investigations had revealed that the ­looters were mostly young people.

“We had to release some of them into the custody of their parents.

“There are elements of drug usage?...?such as nyaope. We received information that some of the youths loot shops to sell the items to maintain their addiction,” he said.

He repeated the police’s contention that this week was marked by “opportunistic looting” rather than xenophobia.

“We have had incidents where foreign shop owners did not resist when their shops were looted and [they] were not attacked.”

The Consortium for Refugees and ­Migrants in SA (Cormsa) said it did not believe law enforcement agencies were prioritising crimes against foreigners.

Its regional advocacy officer Roshan Dadoo said: “To our knowledge, no one was successfully prosecuted for the ­offences relating to the deaths, assaults, theft and malicious damage to property owned by foreign nationals in the 2008 xenophobic attacks.”

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke insisted that people had been prosecuted in connection with the 2008 attacks, which had left more than 60 foreigners dead.

But Makeke was not immediately able to supply the figures.

“There is no crime called xenophobia. Those who were prosecuted were charged for various offences ranging from murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm [to] common ­assault and many other offences.”

Dadoo said Cormsa had not condoned the murder of Siphiwe Mahori (14), allegedly by a Pakistani shop owner. “Let justice take its course. We?...?call on communities to desist from continuing with the rampant behaviour.”

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