October 22, 2021

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‘They take everything’, shopping malls in Soweto were destroyed by robbers

At least 45 people have been killed in looting and destruction in South Africa : More than 200 shopping malls looted in Pretoria and the province of KwaZulu-Natal in Johannesburg. Report from Soweto

A scene of chaos and uproar, Tuesday morning, in front of the Protea Glenn Shopping Center in the heart of Soweto. Men, women, and young people come out of a large open hole in the wall surrounding the center. They take their booty: food bags, a TV, an armchair. To the left of the entrance, a hardware store is completely disabled: there are only empty shelves.

Very dangerous

Even part of the false ceiling has disappeared. When a police car passes by, men throw bricks over the wall without stopping. Next to it was the gas pump which was devastated by the robbers: at the stall, all the food was gone. Everything else is safe, embedded in a wall, behind a cash register: a few men try to unravel it. Outside, others empty the ATM. “They take it all”, A young high school student shouts, come on “Out of curiosity”. “Eight people were killed at the center during a stampede at a food and liquor store last night.”, She says. Unable to go and check: This is very dangerous. An adversary steals our camera. The security guard who comes with us can do nothing. We must leave immediately.


►►► Also read: SOUTH AFRICA: Robbery lasts until the fourth day of violence


A few soldiers stand safely in the DeepClub business center, another part of Johannesburg’s big city. They see a dozen people, including two women, lying face down in a parking lot strewn with broken cardboard boxes.

It went out of hand

One of them manages to escape and, under the cheers of onlookers, observes the scene through the gates of the parking lot. After freeing the two young men, the police take the others away. “The robbery started late yesterday afternoon, Explains Magwadi Mahlasela, a young computer scientist who lives next door. Police intervened around 10:30 p.m. They threw tear gas and rubber bullets, but people returned after they left. Young people in particular are stealing. I think some people were paid to destroy everything as part of the anti-Zuma resistance movement (Editor’s note – The former South African president has been detained since Thursday for refusing to appear before a commission of inquiry into major corruption during his presidency). But it went out of hand. “.

People are hungry

Like other Johannesburg townships, the Zuma ethnic group rioted in Soweto on Monday in a business center near the Zulu Migrant Workers’ Shelter. “In fact, most people in Soweto don’t care about Zuma, another local thinks, Sibo Sangosi, Thane Zulu. They steal because they don’t have a job. The unemployment rate is very high and due to Govt, many businesses have closed. Last year, the government provided financial compensation, but it was over. People are hungry. But our situation will only get worse. Those who had jobs will no longer be paid, and with all this, where do we go to shop?

Newsletter RTBF Information – Africa

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