Cops allow looting say Pretoria residents

A vote of no confidence in Mamelodi East police has been passed by local community members as looting of shops, and injuring and killing Somali shop owners entered its third week.

The residents said they had lost all faith in the police and could not rely on them for protection.

Community members and local business owners said they lived in fear of criminal elements after police stood by and watched as young men went on the rampage, looting shops and in the process chasing foreign shopkeepers out of the township.

More than 300 Somali nationals have fled the informal settlements of Mandela Village, Phomolong and Nellmapius in Mamelodi East.

Businessmen told the Pretoria News they lived in fear of being attacked and having their businesses looted, saying they hardly slept at night worrying that they too would become victims once the youths ran out of foreign shops to loot.

“Soon there will be no foreigners to attack and no foreign-owned shops to ransack, and they will turn on us, and who will protect us?” asked one.

The looting began on Saturday three weekends ago, when youths swept through the informal settlements under cover of darkness, targeting Somali-owned shops, taking everything.

“We are effectively left with no shops to buy from; these people provide a service no local person has mastered,” a community member said.

Somali shop owners said they stood and watched while their shops were cleared, while others were beaten up and left inside shops which had been set alight.

They accused the police of standing by while the criminals looted and attacked.

Locals reiterated the claims of the foreigners, saying they saw police officers watch and do nothing as shops were looted.

Source: Pretoria News