#UnrestSA: 'This is clear economic sabotage to the people of this country' - Lamola

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A woman holds empty beer bottles outside a liquor store as others sort rubble while volunteering to clean the Diepkloof Square on Wednesday.
A woman holds empty beer bottles outside a liquor store as others sort rubble while volunteering to clean the Diepkloof Square on Wednesday.
Phill Magakoe / AFP
  • Ronald Lamola says that these are "serious crimes" and "clear economic sabotage".
  • Lamola, government ministers and MECs visited the area on Wednesday.
  • The Pan Africa Mall and Alex FM were among the buildings that were destroyed in the widespread looting.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has described the unrest taking place in parts of the country as "clear economic sabotage".

"These are very serious crimes, and it has taken on a very serious light. We are expecting that [they] are going to be taken through the court processes expeditiously.

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"We will call upon serious sentences to be meted out because this is clear economic sabotage to the people of this country. It is also serious social unrest and instability, it's is a serious crime," he told the media while visiting Alexandra, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

Some government ministers and MECs are in the area to assess the damage from the looting and vandalism.

News24 reported live from Alexandra on Tuesday, where notably, the Pan Africa Mall was completely ransacked.

On Tuesday morning, residents could be seen rushing into the mall through a cracked glass on the side of the mall facing the taxi rank.

After following the looters and entering the destroyed mall through the cracked window, News24 saw looters scrounging through the rubble for what was left in the widespread damage.

The mall - including its stores, ATM and banks, were destroyed - leaving the Pan Africa Mall building eerie, dark and unrecognisable.

WATCH | Alexandra's Pan African Mall, opened by Zuma in 2009, trashed by looters

The central community station in the area, Alex FM, was also targeted during the widespread looting - studio equipment, computers, and furniture were taken, and the building's entire 4th floor ransacked.

Alex FM board chairperson Isaac Mangena said it was sad for the people of Alexandra, as the station was their main source of information.

READ | Zuma's 'private spy' Thulan Dlomo a prime suspect for unrest

"This means the residents of Alexandra will not have a source to inform them about the very same riots happening and other important news.

"Most importantly, the station was the source of information during Covid-19, when every citizen needs to be reminded of the dangers of this pandemic through Alex FM," Mangena said in a statement on Tuesday.

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