‘Cops told us to loot’

2015-01-25 06:00

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Foreign shop owners, looters and witnesses to the looting this week in Gauteng have described how police stole goods and helped others raid the shops during the worst attacks on ­foreigners South ­Africa has seen in ­seven years.

An estimated 120 foreign-owned or foreign-run shops were looted in Soweto and nearby Kagiso this week.

Foreigners have described how some police officers told them to “go back to where you come from”, ­demanded bribes to do their jobs and helped themselves to goods on the shelves, including airtime and cooldrinks.

Widespread reports of criminal and xenophobic ­behaviour by some police officers tasked with stopping the looting in Soweto fly in the face of statements made by ­Gauteng police commissioner Joel Mothiba and Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane that what took place in Soweto during the course of the week was “criminal and not xenophobic”.

Yesterday, 10 young Soweto residents in different parts of the township, who admitted to taking part in the looting, told City Press that the police had helped them do it.

Zondi residents Charlie Masondo and Tshepo Radiapeng said they watched as police instructed looters to queue outside a foreign-owned shop and allowed four of them in at a time to prevent a stampede.

“I have never seen something like cops helping ­people to steal,” said Radiapeng.

» Get your copy of City Press newspaper today for the full story.

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