Five confirmed dead, 189 arrested in Gauteng violence
Violence across Gauteng has now resulted in five people being confirmed dead with more than 180 people arrested as police and residents of parts of the province clash. Several areas in the province have been plagued by xenophobic attacks and looting since Sunday, 1 September 2019. Jeppestown residents on Tuesday, 3 September 2019, rejected calls for peace from Police Minister Bheki Cele following days of public violence. Residents vowed not to stop their attacks and will continue until the weekend. In Alexandra, Gauteng Premier David Makhura was greeted by streets filled with business inactivity and many shops that had been looted and attacked.
The violence started when shops were looted and a local panel beater workshop was damaged in Jeppestown following the death of three people in a fire in the area, police have said. Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo on Sunday said police responded to a call of a building that was gutted in Jeppestown at around 5h00, where two men and a woman died.
"The three deceased people... were burnt to death. While at the scene, a group of criminals then took advantage of the situation and started attacking nearby shops," he said. Nearby shops were broken into and then looted, Masondo said. "They then moved into a nearby panel beater workshop where they damaged two cars and set alight one vehicle. At the moment, we don't know who owns those shops and are calling for owners to come and open cases," he said.
Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said officers were coping and that the ringleader behind the looting has been identified and an arrest would be executed soon.
In a statement, Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini revealed that five murders have been reported: two in Corronationville, two in Hillbrow and one near a hostel in Jeppestown, a figure which has been condemned by Cele.
Police believe that the increased deployment in areas identified as hot spots has had a stabilising effect.
"189 arrests have been effected since Sunday for criminal acts including violence, malicious damage to property and theft," Dlamini said.
Dlamini said police would also be keeping an eye on "criminal gangs" who are looking to take advantage of the situation by breaking into businesses.
"Except cases of public violence, malicious damage to property and theft, there will be more focus on investigation of business break-ins and theft," said Dlamini.