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Looting spreads across Gauteng

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Several shopping centres and malls in Gauteng were closed, while others experienced looting and violence on Monday. The Rea Vaya and Metrobus services were also suspended.

Looting in Soweto. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

AMID ongoing violence and looting, several shopping centres and malls in Gauteng were closed on Monday.

Violent protests, apparently linked to the arrest and calls for the release of former president Jacob Zuma, spread to Gauteng from KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, with fiery and violent scenes reported in Jeppestown, Alexandra, Soweto, Vosloorus and Germiston.

This comes as the burning and looting continued unabated in KZN, with protesters targeting shops and shopping centres and malls being set on fire and shops looted of food and other goods.

In Soweto, the Jabulani Mall was a site of violence and looting as hundreds stormed the mall and looted food supplies.

Police officers seemed outnumbered and overwhelmed could do little to stop the rampant looting taking place.

Soweto’s Maponya Mall announced its closure on Monday afternoon after attempts to loot just before midday.

“In the interest of safety for our shoppers, due to the ongoing unrest within the region, Maponya Mall will be closed for trade on Monday, 12 July 2021,” the mall management said.

The Southgate Mall was also looted.

The Sandton Shopping Centre was operating normally although an old video was being shared, creating the impression that there was unrest at the mall. The mall said it had deployed additional security.

“Sandton City is aware of the evacuation video circulating on social media. This video is from April 2021, and is not connected to the ongoing violent protests in and around Johannesburg.

“Additional security measures have been put in place at Sandton City, as the safety and security of shoppers and tenants is of the utmost importance.

“Together with the South African Police Service, Sandton City will continue to monitor the situation, and is currently operating as per normal, as a Covid-19 compliant, SAFE-certified shopping centre.”

Looting at Shoprite Naledi in Soweto. Picture: Itumeleng Tau

Meanwhile, the City of Johannesburg announced that its two bus services, the Rea Vaya and the Metrobus service, had been suspended on Monday.

Of the Rea Vaya service, it said: “The City of Johannesburg hereby informs passengers that Rea Vaya services remain suspended until further notice. The situation of unrest and road blockages in some parts of the Joburg central business district has not changed.

“Due to marches in and around Johannesburg, the Joburg Metrobus is suspending the service with immediate effect. Operations will resume as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Meanwhile, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said at least 96 people had been arrested in Gauteng for looting and rioting. She said at least four people had been killed.

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