POLICE are caught looting goods as South Africa's lawlessness rages on
POLICE are caught looting goods as South Africa’s descent into lawlessness continues with more shops ransacked and huge queues for food amid fears of shortages caused by rioting
- Footage showed people accosting a man wearing a police jacket beside a hatchback filled with groceries
- The woman filming says: ‘This is a police officer, in uniform, looting … This is our SAPS (police force), guys’
- Second video from showed another purported officer in plain clothes trying to hide his face from the camera
- His vehicle was laden with high value electrical goods, including a flat-screen television
- The raging unrest first erupted last Friday after former president Jacob Zuma started serving a 15-month term for contempt, having snubbed a probe into the corruption that stained his nine years in power
- But the wanton lawlessness has lost any political motivation, with gang shoot-outs in the streets, people queuing up to loot warehouses and malls, and white farmers forming militias to defend their properties
Policemen in South Africa have been caught looting goods as the ransacking of stores and warehouses continued into a fifth day – with huge queues forming outside supermarkets amid fears of food shortages caused by the rioting.
Footage showed people accosting a man wearing a police jacket beside a hatchback filled with household supplies, including bread, milk and cooking oil. The woman filming says: ‘This is a police officer, in uniform, looting … This is our SAPS (South African Police Service), guys.’
A second video from the same woman showed another purported officer in plain clothes trying to hide his face from the camera after he was hauled out of his car by locals. His vehicle was laden with allegedly looted products, including a flat-screen television.
‘He has looted, he has threatened our lives with firearms, and this is all coming out of his Polo,’ the woman says as she films objects on the ground beside the open car boot.
The raging unrest first erupted last Friday after former president Jacob Zuma started serving a 15-month term for contempt, having snubbed a probe into the corruption that stained his nine years in power.
But the wanton lawlessness has lost any political motivation, with gang shoot-outs in the streets, people queuing up in their cars to loot warehouses and malls, and white farmers forming militias to defend their properties.
Law-abiding citizens were pictured this morning lining up outside a supermarket in Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal, trying to stock up amid fears of food shortages caused by the pillaging.
President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed 2,500 soldiers to help overrun police forces in Johannesburg and southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal. Rioting has also spread to Soweto, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.
But these numbers are dwarfed by the more than 70,000 troops deployed to enforce last year’s coronavirus lockdown, and only a handful of soldiers were seen at some shopping centres.
One looter said she was looting purely because of the economic impacts of the lockdown. Asked by a local TV reporter if she was looting because of Zuma’s imprisonment, she said: ‘No, we’re looting because we have no food, we have no jobs because of the Covid lockdown.’
Last year, the country’s GDP slumped by 7 per cent – the largest decline in more than 40 years. The unemployment rate stands at 32.6 per cent, while youth unemployment has soared to a staggering 75 per cent.
Footage showed people accosting a man wearing a police jacket beside a hatchback filled with household supplies, including bread, milk and cooking oil
The man’s car is seen filled with household supplies including bottles of cooking oil and packs of toilet paper
A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier along with South African Police service officers detain suspected looters at the Jabulani mall in Soweto on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Tuesday
Residents queue at a supermarket which has been closed after violence erupted in the Hillcrest, in the KwaZulu-Natal province
Residents queue at a supermarket which has been closed after violence erupted in KwaZulu-Natal province
A self-armed local looks for looters inside a supermarket following protests that have widened into looting, in Durban, on Tuesday
Looters pull few items they took from what was left to grab in a vandalised mall in Vosloorus, on Wednesday
Smoke rises from a Makro building set on fire overnight in Umhlanga, north of Durban, on Tuesday
President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed 2,500 soldiers to help overrun police forces in Johannesburg and southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal. Rioting has also spread to Soweto, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape
‘The total number of people who have lost their lives since the beginning of these protests … has risen to 72,’ the police said in a statement late Tuesday.
Most of the deaths ‘relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops’, it said.
Others were linked to shootings and explosions of bank ATMs.
The number of arrests has risen to 1,234, although many thousands have been involved in the ransacking sprees.
Earlier TV footage showed dozens of women, some wearing their dressing gowns, men and even children strolling into a butcher in Soweto, coming out balancing heavy boxes of frozen meat on their heads or shoulders.
Police showed up three hours later and fired rubber bullets. Soldiers eventually followed.
In Alexandra township north of Johannesburg, hundreds of people streamed in and out of a shopping mall, freely grabbing groceries.
Looters who spoke to AFP said they had got caught up in the rush, or saw the chance to ease a life blighted by poverty.
‘I’m really not concerned about Zuma. He is a corrupt old man that deserves to be in jail,’ said a 30-year-old man who works at a car wash.
He admitted to ‘taking things from the shop for my mum’ – stainless-steel pots, meat and groceries.
In Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal’s capital, people hauled boxed refrigerators through bushes to a long line of cars that were parked along a highway.
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
A member of the South African Police Services (SAPS) fired rubber bullets at rioters looting the Jabulani Mall in Soweto on Monday
South African police force suspected looters to lie down after apprehending them in Soweto on Tuesday
Suspected looters who surrendered to armed private security officers are marched outside in a flooded mall in Vosloorus on Tuesday
Afire engulfs Campsdrift Park, which houses Makro and China Mall in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday
The deployment of 2,500 soldiers to support the South African police has so far failed to stop the rampant looting, although arrests were being made in some areas in Johannesburg, including Vosloorus in the eastern part of the city
Shopkeepers have been firing at looters. Pictured: A self-armed local looks for looters inside a supermarket in Durban
In Durban, aerial footage showed hundreds of people looting a large shopping centre and carting off huge boxes of goods.
A woman was seen throwing her baby from the first floor of a building to save her from fire after shops below her apartment were set on fire. The child safely landed with a group of people on the street.
In his nationwide address Monday night, Ramaphosa lashed ‘opportunistic acts of criminality, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover for looting and theft’.
‘The path of violence, of looting and anarchy, leads only to more violence and devastation,’ Ramaphosa said.
The chair of the African Union Commission condemned ‘the surge of violence that has resulted in the deaths of civilians and appalling scenes of the looting’, calling ‘for an urgent restoration of order’.
The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, announced Tuesday it would file criminal charges against Zuma’s children and the leader of the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema.
In a statement, the party accused them of using ‘social media to express comments which appear to encourage and incite the violence and looting.’
A woman was filed dropping her toddler from the roof of a burning shopping mall in Durban after looters ransacked the shops below and then set fire to them, threatening the apartment block above
A crowd in the street could be seen catching the child and taking them to safety, leaving the mother to find another route out of the burning building
Empty shelves at a shopping mall in Durban, which has fallen victim to looting during the chaos following Zuma’s arrest
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
A police officer stands on the arm of a suspected looter while another man wields an iron bar during the violent scenes in Johannesburg on Tuesday
Angry locals launch rocks at police officers near the entrance of a looted shopping mall after the fifth day of ransacking in South Africa
A woman wrapped in a blanket in the colours of the ruling ANC party walks past the bodies of two young men who were fleeing the police when they fell into a sewage pit and drowned in Vlakfontein, Johannesburg on Tuesday
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
Police take to the streets in the Gauteng region on Tuesday
Once dubbed the ‘Teflon president’, Zuma was handed the jail term on June 29 by the Constitutional Court for bucking an order to appear before a commission probing the graft that proliferated under his administration.
He started serving the term on Thursday after handing himself in to authorities.
He is seeking to have the ruling set aside.
Zuma, 79, is a former anti-apartheid fighter who spent 10 years in jail in the notorious Robben Island jail off Cape Town.
He rose in democratic South Africa to vice president and then president, before being ousted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in 2018 as scandals proliferated.
But he remains popular among many poor South Africans, especially grassroots members of the ANC, who portray him as a defender of the disadvantaged.
South Africa is deep in an economic malaise, with cripplingly high levels of unemployment. Economic activity had already been badly affected by restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus.
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