18 arrested after Pretoria CBD looting spree - metro police

Protesters started looting shops and setting buildings alight in the Pretoria CBD. (Screengrab)
Protesters started looting shops and setting buildings alight in the Pretoria CBD. (Screengrab)

Eighteen people have been arrested following Wednesday’s unrest in the Pretoria CBD, Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson Isaac Mahamba has confirmed.

Mahamba told News24 that eight people had been arrested for public violence and 10 for possession of stolen goods.

Chaos erupted on the streets of Pretoria on Wednesday as taxi drivers attempted to rid the CBD of alleged drug dealers, after a taxi driver was shot and killed on Tuesday.

It was alleged that taxi drivers had found members of the police involved in selling drugs.

During the incident, multiple shots were fired, resulting in the death of the taxi driver. Angry taxi operators then used the city's buses to block traffic to "deal" with the nyaope (drug) boys, News24 reported.

Wednesday's unrest began with taxi drivers blocking roads in the CBD to protest the shooting.

News24 was on the ground and witnessed shops being looted and set alight.

At one point, police officers from the flying squad, wielding R5 rifles, attempted to gain access to Lilian Ngoyi Street to allow the fire department through to attend to the burning buildings.

Police officers and firefighters were eventually forced to retreat as the looting continued.

A large police contingent finally moved into the area firing rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

As the police started firing, looters ran away, some with large flat screen TVs that were stolen from an electronics store on the same street.

The police kept clearing streets as the looting continued.

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela told News24 on Wednesday that no arrests had been made during the chaos. 

On Thursday, Mahamba confirmed that calm has been restored to the CBD.

He added that the 18 people who had been arrested were due to appear in court for a bail hearing. No date has been set yet.

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