#UnrestSA: Taxi operators open fire on looters at mall in Vosloorus

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Vigilantes escort a man who they detained and accused of looting in Vosloorus.
Vigilantes escort a man who they detained and accused of looting in Vosloorus.
James Oatway/Getty Images
  • Three bodies were found in Vosloorus, on the East Rand.
  • A family member of one of the deceased said his little brother had gone looking for his sister when he was shot.
  • Gwede Mantashe visited the area and said looters would feel the brunt of their actions.

Rampant looting has left three people, including 14-year-old Vusi Dlamini, dead at the Chris Hani Mall in Vosloorus, on the East Rand.

Two adult males are yet to be identified.

The men's bodies were found at two different spots behind the mall on Tuesday night.

READ | Community-driven anti-looting campaigns prove to be a great success in some areas

According to security guards at the mall, the deceased were allegedly among groups of residents looting shops, and torching Ackermans, Jet and Cash Crusaders stores.

Dlamini was killed - allegedly by taxi operators around midday on Wednesday - when a group of armed taxi operators arrived in the area to chase away looters.

The looters refused to leave, which led to the operators opening fire with live ammunition.

READ | #UnrestSA: KZN taxi operations to resume as cleanup of ranks get under way

The shooting took place in the presence of the police and journalists.

The local taxi operators were also victims of looting, after their office at the mall was ransacked. Their personal belongings, including electrical appliances, were stolen.

News24 spoke to Dlamini's elder brother, Abednigo Sithole, who claimed that his younger brother was shot by taxi operators. Sithole said Dlamini was not among the looters when he was killed.

"He was at the mall looking for his sister when he was shot. He was shot in the head and died on the scene."

"Taxi operators are above the law. They killed him in front of the police," Sithole said.

A crowd of onlookers gathered around Dlamini's body, which was covered with a blanket. The 14-year-old died at a cemetery opposite the mall.

Taxi operators claimed they had lost their livelihoods and, worse, their vehicles could be repossessed as there was no earning coming from the mall.

Taxi operator Petros Sangweni said the looting and torching of the mall had left them with a serious predicament.

"Our bread and butter is gone. We are helpless and have no other alternatives to earn a living.

"As operators, we are in the lurch. We used to make enough to sustain our families, and that is over now.

"It took looters less than a day to take away our earning," Sangweni said.

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe arrived at the mall to inspect the damage.

Mantashe called for restraint from community members and urged people to protect township infrastructure.

"This crisis has not spilt to the other seven provinces because of structures on the ground that prevented looters. 

"Burning shopping complexes has nothing to do with (former president Jacob) Zuma. It is pure thuggery and theft," said Mantashe.

WATCH | #UnrestSA: Residents, students turn out 'in their numbers' to clean KwaZulu-Natal streets

He said many people in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, where looting and unrest were taking place, were going to feel the brunt of their actions.

"These illegal activities were unforeseen. There will be fuel and food shortages due to packages of movement of trucks. There is going to be a crisis.

"The ANC is a microcosm of society and I will not be shocked if some of our members are arrested for instigating the looting," Mantashe said.

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