Call for calm in Diepsloot

2013-05-31 09:04

MEC for Community Safety in Gauteng Faith Mazibuko visited Diepsloot to urge members of the community to work with police to eradicate crime and looting that have seen shops owned by foreign nationals shut down and shop owners forced to flee the area.

Her visit yesterday was part of the Diepsloot Re-launch of Moral Regeneration and Anti Mob Justice programme that started six years ago.

“The relaunching today aims to take stock of the six years and the need to recommit ourselves to ensuring some level of safety” said Mazibuko.

More than 80 arrests have been made since Monday and police are still searching for others who looted stores owned by foreign nationals.

Twenty five of those arrested have appeared before the Pretoria magistrate court and have been denied bail, along with four foreign nationals.

Mazibuko commended the collaboration between the community and the police in bringing those responsible to book.

“Just on Tuesday, the police were overwhelmed with calls from the community blowing the whistle against looters and directing them to where groceries were hidden”.

“This shows that the war against crime is being won”.

She urged the community to increase its partnership with the police and other stakeholders in curbing and eradicating the scourge of xenophobia.

A pledge to respect, promote and defend the South African constitution was signed by the MEC, the police, the community policing forum and was acknowledged by members of the community.

It is not clear when the return of the foreign nationals would be made possible. Among the members of the community sat Somali nationals, Ethiopians, and Pakistani nationals who have been forced to close their shops as a result of the incidents of the last few days.

Lucky Keign, from Ethiopia, was one of the victims of looting who attended the relaunch. He lost everything when a mob looted his shop in the small hours of Monday morning.

He has since fled to Olievenhoutbosch a few kilometers from Diepsloot. He now helps his uncle at his shop.

Asked if he will be returning soon, Lucky was noncommittal.

“I have lost everything; it will be hard to rebuild the work which took me 10 years to build.”

The unrest started on Sunday after a Somali man was arrested for allegedly shooting dead two men outside his shop.

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