#UnrestSA: We don't regret looting because we are poor - 2 Vosloorus residents

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Looters took over most of Chris Hani Mall in Vosloorus.
Looters took over most of Chris Hani Mall in Vosloorus.
Photo by Morapedi Mashashe
  • Two young men who actively took part in rampant looting in Vosloorus this week said they did not regret their actions.
  • They said they were tired of being poor and not being able to provide for their basic needs.
  • Looting in the area has continued for four days, despite three bodies being discovered in the rubble and live ammunition being used by taxi operators to deter the crowds.

Siphamandla Cebekhulu and Tsholofelo Mokoena boldly claimed hunger and unemployment led them to loot the Chris Hani Mall.

The two were among scores of Vosloorus residents who emptied out the mall this week.

Cebekhulu claimed he had managed to steal a black pair of jeans, sandals and a blue jacket.

"I don't have extra clothes to wear. I'm unemployed and have nothing to eat. I am wearing clothes that I stole from one of the shops.

"I know what I did is wrong. I had no option, but to steal," he told News24 on Thursday.

Cebekhulu claimed the lack of job opportunities for him and others like him was what prompted them to loot the mall.

Cebekhulu added:

What else was I supposed to do to get free clothes? I know my actions are against the law. I don't regret what I did. If there was a chance I was going to take more.

"Our government has neglected us for too long. We are adults and have to live decent lives," he said.

Mokoena claimed he was "excited" when he joined residents who were stealing.

I couldn't just stand and watch when people were stealing. I also have needs and a stomach to fill.

"I started looting on Monday night from the mall. I have taken some items that I can't mention. I am aware that people are going to lose their jobs because of our actions," he said.

Shopkeeper Timmy Shi is yet to calculate the cost to his looted business.

He runs an herbal store at Chris Hani Mall.

"On Sunday night, we were warned that our shops were going to be looted. There was nothing we could do as it was late.

"I was afraid to come to Vosloorus the following day. I thought they were going to spare my shop. Unfortunately, they didn't," said Shi.

His shop was not severely ravaged like others. Some of his herbs were still on the shelves.

Meanwhile, the only items that were left untouched at Shoprite and Pick 'n Pay were stationery and other study materials.

An employee at the mall said they were shocked when counting the cost to find books, pens and other study materials were left intact.

Parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been rocked by unrest, resulting in looting.

News24 earlier reported violence had broken out on Friday, incited by calls to free former president Jacob Zuma from prison, but has since descended into mass violence and looting in both provinces.

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