‘They took everything’: Tshwane protests turn into looting spree

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The word South Africa could be made out from words murmured by a clearly traumatised Somali tuck-shop owner in his own language.

He wept uncontrollably as he rolled on a dusty street in Ga-Rankuwa. The community watched; a few onlookers laughed.

His misery was directed at a red shipping container from which he ran a spaza shop until looters pounced on him today.

 

The shop was empty except for broken shelves and items that fell while it was being ransacked moments earlier.

“They took everything – my money, my stock, everything. I have nothing with me,” he said repeatedly.
 

The unrest in Tshwane has evolved from a politically motivated protest into this – a looting spree.

The protests were sparked after the ANC’s announcement of its decision to deploy former minister Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate for Tshwane.

The ANC decided on Didiza in a bid to avoid conflicts from the two factions supporting the incumbent mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, who is also the ANC Tshwane regional chairperson, and his deputy Mapiti Matsena.

Protesting communities were calling for the ANC to allow them to decide on their own mayoral candidate.

In reaction to this, more than 20 buses and several trucks were torched in areas of Tshwane, including Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Mabopane.

Morula shopping complex in Mabopane was looted overnight and smaller shops were ransacked throughout the day today. The same happened in Ga-Rankuwa.

The shell of a torched bus was seen in front of Morula Sun Casino in Mabopane where it was set alight overnight.

Police were deployed to Tshwane from across Gauteng. However, they were thin on the ground. Officers would run from one looting incident to the next only to find that looters had already cleaned out the shops.

  
Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza said more than 40 people had been arrested throughout the protest-torn areas since yesterday .

They were expected to appear in court soon for charges ranging from public violence, theft and malicious damage to property.

An ANC branch chairperson in Atteridgeville told City Press a meeting that was to be held with branch leadership in a bid to quell fires in the region was postponed.

The ANC Gauteng chairperson, Paul Mashatile, said yesterday meetings with branch leaders were to start today as the party worked towards hearing their grievances on its mayoral candidate decision and resolving them. It was not clear whether the meeting would be held tomorrow.
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