By TimesLive, Zimbabwe Digital News, EWN, and African News Agency
The Zimbabwe Cross Borders Transport Association (ZCBTA) has warned that it will block all South African cross-border transport if attacks by South African nationals on foreign truck drivers continued.
“Due to attacks by South African nationals that on September 2, 2019 they are embarking on an attack on foreign national drivers, the International Cross-Border Traders Association executive has resolved that if this plan succeeds, we are going to stop all South Africa-registered trucks, buses and flights to cross borders to any African nation,” Dennis Juru, the chair of ZCBTA, said in a statement.
Juru said that the Zimbabwean truck drivers had permits to work in South Africa that had been granted by the South African authorities and that the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa required an appropriate response.
“We have previously witnessed foreign nationals killed, assaulted and threatened without a single person being arrested or prosecuted,” he added.
SA Police Minister Bheki Cele on Monday described the situation in the Johannesburg CBD as a national emergency, saying more officers will be deployed to deal with the unrest.
Looting made the news throughout the day in a number of areas including Jeppestown, Malvern, Ekurhuleni and Sunnyside in Pretoria on Monday.
Metro bus services were suspended in the wake of the unrest, and Johannesburg was underlockdown as business ground to a halt.
Emergency services fled from the scene of a fire at the Bree Street Taxi Rank fearing for their safety.
Cele said this was an act of criminality: “I find it an excuse of doing criminality but for now, we will deal with criminality.”
The situation in parts of the Joburg CBD remained tense throughout the day where businesses were torched and vandalised; and police made a number of arrests.
Mobs pelted passing vehicles with rocks preventing motorists from accessing parts of the CBD.
Police cars and nyalas were patrolling large parts of Greater Johannesburg but they couldn’t keep up with the mobs who were targeting shops.
Madness in Jeppestown
About 2km from the busy streets surrounding the Jeppe police station, several car dealership and shop owners in Malvern, Johannesburg, picked up the pieces after protesters ran rampant in the area on Sunday night.
Tears flowed as family members of Salbro Auto hopelessly walk through their car dealership which has been burnt to the ground.
Nothing but burnt down frames of 40 cars, which were once worth millions, are left.
Four of the dealership’s burnt cars which protesters attempted to steal stood outside the gates in Jules Street.
The Salajee family has had the dealership since 1991. Owner Abdallah Salajee said when they closed shop on Saturday afternoon “everything was fine”. “Overnight things happened, you come back to nothing on Monday morning. Last night there was not a minute of sleep.
“We feel terrible and we can’t handle it. You can’t even complain to the police or anyone,” he told reporters.
More than 40 people have been arrested after an overnight looting and burning spree in Jeppestown and surrounding areas in Johannesburg.
By Monday the streets were buzzing with people, some walking around drinking beer while others took pictures of the damage. The streets were lined with broken glass, empty rubber bullet shells and burnt tyres.
“We managed to control the situation, but criminals returned late on Sunday.”
Police spokesperson Capt Mavela Masondo said authorities had responded to a fire at a hijacked building in Jeppestown on Sunday morning. He said three people died in the blaze while a fourth was treated for smoke inhalation.
“While we were still investigating with emergency services, people who were around started taking advantage of the situation and looted shops.” Masondo said police regained control of the situation in Jules Street and initially arrested four people. “We managed to control the situation, but criminals returned late on Sunday.”
The mob looted and set alight several shops in the area. Dozens of cars were torched at dealerships.
Many of the 40 people arrested by mid-morning on Monday were caught in the act – looting shops or carrying stolen goods. Eight suspects were arrested inside a shop at Vusimuzi informal settlement, where there was more looting in Tembisa.
Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela described the incidents as lawless and inhumane.
“It is a sad day when people choose to capitalise on the misfortune of others to advance anarchy or criminality. Three people perishing in a burning, collapsing building can never justify what is now happening in Jeppestown, Malvern and surrounding areas. With such a tragedy, the community should be uniting to assist those affected instead of seeing an opportunity to commit crime,” he said.
Mawela warned people to refrain from inciting violence. Police noted threats of violence circulating on social media. “Those who are hell-bent on turning Gauteng into a crime haven will be found and will face the full might of the law,” he said.
Law enforcement agencies, emergency and fire services were on the ground on Monday to ensure the situation was contained. Police were also on high alert, monitoring Reiger Park and Oakmore in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, following sporadic attacks at shops on Monday.
In a separate incident in Tembisa, police recovered two firearms at the scene of a business robbery where two armed suspects were fatally shot and the victim, believed to be the shop owner, was rescued.
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