Owners fire on looters to protect their shops in South African riots

Owners fire on looters to protect their shops in South African riots

July 14, 2021

South Africa in chaos: Shopkeepers fire on mob to protect their stores and ten people are killed in mall looting stampede as death toll in riots sparked by President Zuma’s jailing passes 40

  • Shop owners fired on looters to protect their shops as South Africa enters the fifth day of rioting and looting
  • A video clip shared on Monday showed people firing on crowds of rioters in a bid to protect their businesses
  • Elsewhere, ten people were killed during a stampede on a Soweto shopping mall on Monday, officials said
  • Demonstrations broke out Friday after ex-president Jacob Zuma was taken to prison to start a 15-month term

Shop owners fired on looters in a bid to protect their shops as South Africa entered the fifth day of riots and the death toll rose to more than 40 people after ten were killed in a single stampede on a shopping centre.

Video footage shared to Twitter on Monday showed people resorting to shooting at looters in a bid to protect their businesses as looting continues in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

In the clip, a line of shop and property owners fired on the rioters from afar before running closer and continuing to shoot, while the crowds protected themselves behind road signs and ran off the road amid the chaos. The exact location of the video is not known.

It comes as South Africa entered the fifth day of rioting on Tuesday with the death toll rising to 45 as police and the military struggle to quell the looting and violence in the two provinces.

Demonstrations broke out Friday after ex-president Jacob Zuma was taken to prison to start a 15-month term for failing to cooperate with a corruption probe, and quickly turned violent. 

Video footage shared to Twitter on Monday showed people resorting to shooting at looters in a bid to protect their businesses as looting continues in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces 

In the clip, a line of shop and property owners fired on the rioters from afar before running closer and continuing to shoot, while the crowds protected themselves behind road signs and ran off the road amid the chaos

South Africa entered the fifth day of rioting on Tuesday with the death toll rising to 32 as police and the military struggle to quell the looting (pictured: Jabulani Mall in Soweto) and violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces

Meanwhile, the bodies of ten people were found on Monday evening after people ransacked a shopping mall in Soweto, Gauteng, premier David Makhura confirmed on Tuesday. Pictured: Looting at the Jabulani Mall in Soweto on Monday

The police and the military are struggling to quell the looting and violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Pictured: Members of the military look at damaged ATM machines outside a bank on Monday

The looting (pictured: Jabulani Mall, Soweto) was triggered by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma as his supporters took to the streets last week, but the situation has evolved into an outpouring of anger over persistent poverty and inequality

The Gold Spot Shopping Centre in Vosloorus, southeast of Johannesburg, was left completely trashed on Monday after it was ransacked by looters

Meanwhile, the bodies of ten people were found on Monday evening after people ransacked a shopping mall in Soweto, Gauteng, premier David Makhura confirmed on Tuesday.

The deployment of 2,500 soldiers to support the South African police has not yet stopped the rampant looting although arrests are being made at some areas in Johannesburg, including Vosloorus in eastern Johannesburg. 

The rioting continued on Tuesday as looters ransacked warehouses and supermarkets in the South African port city of Durban despite the efforts of heavily outnumbered police.

Hundreds of people were seen raiding a warehouse belonging to the retailer Game, which sells items including groceries and home appliances. People took everything they could lay their hands on, and some drove off with stolen goods in pick-up trucks with covered number plates.

Vandals also trashed a Makro supermarket and other shops in the city centre, while police were overwhelmed and unable to control the rioters.

Aerial footage shot from a helicopter by the local television channel eNCA showed black smoke rising from several warehouses and surrounding roads strewn with debris.

Hundreds of people were seen raiding a warehouse belonging to the retailer Game, which sells items including groceries and home appliances. Pictured: Members of the military patrol past looted shops in Soweto

President Ramaphosa urged ‘peaceful protest’ during a speech on Sunday. Pictured: A metro police officers keeps guard at Jabulani mall on Tuesday

A member of the military keeps guard outside a McDonald’s store on Tuesday as the country deploys army in two provinces amid looting and rioting

A member of the South African Police Services (SAPS) fired rubber bullets at rioters looting the Jabulani Mall in Soweto on Monday 

Amid the unrest, protesters have blockaded roads with burning tires, burned buildings, set off explosions and fired gunshots in townships across KwaZulu-Natal. Pictured: Person uses mobile phone in a looted shop

A member of the military walks as he inspects the damage at the looted Jabulani mall on Monday as the country deploys army to quell unrest

Metro police officers fire at protesters at Jabulani mall as the country deploys army to quell unrest linked to jailing of former President Jacob Zuma in Soweto on Monday

Durban has one of the busiest shipping terminals on the African continent, is home to dozens of industrial parks and is a hub for imports and exports into and out of southern Africa.

Amid the unrest, protesters have blockaded roads with burning tires, burned buildings, set off explosions and fired gunshots in townships across KwaZulu-Natal. 

The violence was triggered by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma as his supporters took to the streets last week, but the situation has evolved into an outpouring of anger over persistent poverty and inequality, 27 years after the end of apartheid.

Rioters also set fire to a chemical plant close to Umhlanga, a town north of Durban, emergency services said. Firefighters were on the scene trying to prevent the fire spreading to an adjacent clothing factory.   

Many of the deaths have occurred in chaotic stampedes as scores of people looted food, electric appliances, liquor, and clothing from retail centers, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala told the press on Tuesday morning.

‘Yesterday’s events brought a lot of sadness. The number of people who have died in KwaZulu-Natal alone stands at 26. Many of them died from being trampled on during a stampede while people were looting items,’ said Zikalala.

The deployment of 2,500 soldiers (pictured) to support the South African police has not yet stopped the rampant looting although arrests are being made at some areas in Johannesburg, including Vosloorus in eastern Johannesburg

Fighting has been centered on Zuma’s home state of KwaZulu-Natal – where a shopping centre was burned and looted on Monday – but have also spread into neighbouring Guateng state and its largest city, Johannesburg. 

In Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province which includes the largest city, Johannesburg, six people have died, said officials. 

The military has now been called in to help restore order in both provinces amid fears the violence could rapidly escalate. 

‘The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has commenced with pre-deployment processes and procedures in line with a request for assistance,’ the military said in a statement. 

President Ramaphosa urged ‘peaceful protest’ during a speech on Sunday. 

Suhail Essa, a doctor in the city, described scenes at the weekend as ‘a glimpse into hell’ as his clinic was flooded with patients including a six-month-old girl who was shot in the head by a rubber bullet. 

Dr Essa said the girl was being carried by her mother when she got caught up in the violence, before being stuck by the bullet. He did not say whether she survived.

He told News24 of ‘war-like’ conditions inside his clinic, saying: ‘We were listening to gunshots and screams, and then people were running in for help.’

Many of the deaths have occurred in chaotic stampedes as scores of people looted food, electric appliances, liquor, and clothing from retail centers, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala told the press on Tuesday morning

Looting continued Tuesday in Johannesburg shopping malls in township areas including Jabulani Mall and Dobsonville Mall in Soweto. There were also reports of continued looting in centers in KwaZulu-Natal. Pictured: Military in Soweto on Monday

Among other injuries he treated was a person shot in the eye by a rubber bullet, and multiple foreigners who were stabbed in what he called ‘xenophobic’ attacks.

The situation then descended further into chaos as people began fighting with doctors inside the clinic, before a mob turned up and tried to storm inside.

‘It was a nightmare. There was no chance for us to keep up with the injured patients,’ he added. ‘We were in war mode, dealing with the sickest and helping those who could be saved.’ 

Looting continued Tuesday in Johannesburg shopping malls in township areas including Jabulani Mall and Dobsonville Mall in Soweto. There were also reports of continued looting in centers in KwaZulu-Natal.

The violence was sparked by a judicial investigation into Zuma, a veteran of South Africa’s fight against apartheid and white minority rule, over his relationship with Indian-born businessmen and brothers known as ‘the Guptas’. 

Zuma has begun serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, after he was convicted of defying a court order to testify before a state-backed inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his term as president from 2009 to 2018.

He is accused of allowing Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta to plunder state resources and peddle influence over government policy. 

The sporadic pro-Zuma violence spiraled into a spree of criminal theft in poor, township areas of the two provinces, according to witnesses. So far the lawlessness has not spread to South Africa’s other nine provinces

The 79-year-old has refused to cooperate, describing the investigation as a witch-hunt by his successor Cyril Ramaphosa, and last week defied a court ruling to appear before the inquiry and give evidence.

A judge subsequently jailed him for 15 months for contempt of court, and he was taken to prison on Thursday last week after surrendering to police.

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s current president, has been accused of carrying out a witch-hunt against Zuma with the investigation. 

The Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, heard Zuma’s application to have his sentence rescinded on Monday. Zuma’s lawyer presented his arguments that the top court made errors when sentencing Zuma to prison. 

After 10 hours of testimony on Monday, the court judges said they would study the arguments and announce their decision at a later date.

His jailing sparked a wave of violent protest that began Friday and has continued ever since, centered around his home state of KwaZulu-Natal. 

The sporadic pro-Zuma violence spiralled into a spree of criminal theft in poor, township areas of the two provinces, according to witnesses. So far the lawlessness has not spread to South Africa’s other nine provinces. 

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