JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) has strongly criticized the violence and looting of foreign-owned shops in the Johannesburg CBD.
Violence erupted on Monday morning in many parts of South Africa where the South African Police Services have clashed against members of the public.
Although the police have called the violence an act of criminality, some have called it an act of xenophobia.
Speaking to the press on Monday, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the ruling party condemns the violence and called it unacceptable.
Magashule held a briefing at Luthuli House amid heightened tensions in the Johannesburg city centre after a day of mass looting as people ransacked several stores.
“We condemn this violence that’s taking place, irrespective of whatever reasons people want to give, as unacceptable. We further said this is a time for all South Africans to come together and we’re saying the police must act because we see some of these activities as simple acts of criminality,” said Magashule according to Eyewitness News.
The unrest began on Sunday in Jeppestown and has now spread to areas including Turfontein, Ekurhuleni and Pretoria and Police Minister Bheki Cele has promised to meet with ring leaders in an attempt to diffuse the situation.
Resulting from the violence that went on throughout the day, some motorists have seen their cars stoned with emergency services also withdrawing from some areas on Monday.
“There was some smoke here, we went down there to see what’s happening and we found a group of people who told me to go see induna (the ring leader). I saw the induna and we’ve arranged for a meeting tomorrow,” said Cele.
Resulting from the violence, some foreign nationals who own shops in the Joburg CBD have been forced to vacate their stores for fear of being targeted overnight whilst some fought against the looters.
The unrest which erupted overnight is still very evident with some cars that were set alight still abandoned on some streets.
Meanwhile, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba also shared Cele’s sentiments, describing the mass looting in the inner city as nothing but pure criminality and said the city was working with police to clamp down on the action.
On the other hand, it is reported that more than 40 people have been held behind bars since the unrest broke out on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Joburg Emergency Services said the chaos in the CBD has created fear and panic among its staff members who were expected to respond to incidents.
“We also commend our brave firefighters last night by risking their lives to try and control the situation. But I must confess that the situation is creating fear and panic amongst emergency services personnel because they don’t know if they will come back safe from the emergency service,” said EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi.