Government has urged communities to refrain from taking the law into their own hands after foreign owned shops were looted in Soweto.
“There can be no reason that justifies breaking the laws of our country. South Africa is governed by laws and will not tolerate anarchy,” Government Communication and Information System Acting (GCIS) Director-General Phumla Williams said in a statement on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, some residents in Soweto ransacked, trashed and looted foreign owned shops in Zola, Emdeni, Moletsane, White City, Zondi as well as Rockville.
Government has noted with concern reports of looting of foreign owned shops in Soweto. Government has further reiterated that such activities are unlawful and criminal in nature.
“Every citizen and foreign national must be aware that government will not allow lawlessness, criminality and violent crimes. Government is committed to ensuring that all within South African borders are and feel safe.
“South Africa has a zero tolerance approach to corrupt activities and the selling of fake items falls within corrupt activities and robs the people of their human dignity,” the GCIS said.
GCIS said law enforcement agencies are resolute in curbing the proliferation of illicit and counterfeit goods, with some operations already taking place in the Johannesburg Central Business District.
“Law enforcement agencies will continue with their efforts as counterfeit goods have detrimental effects on the economy,” GCIS said.
Government has appealed to communities to collaborate with the authorities to clamp down on criminal activities.
“Communities must resist from embarking in criminal activities in the name of retaliation. Government would like to thank all those community members in Soweto who stood up against the looting and protected the victims,” the GCIS said.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has condemned the looting of foreign owned-shops.
“The criminals who looted foreign owned-shops under a disguise of revenging the police must be arrested. The Police are in a business of fighting crime irrespective of the motive,” Makhura said.
The Gauteng Provincial Government said the South African Police Service has been on the ground, monitoring the situation.
Shop-owners were taken to various police stations around Soweto for safety.
“I must congratulate the Police for acting swiftly and ensuring the safety of shop-owners and some of their belongings. We will not allow criminality and lawlessness in any part of our Province. Gauteng citizens must work with the Police. Operation #OkaeMolao continues to rid our communities of acts of crime,” he said.
Makhura has urged people of Gauteng not to allow criminals to do crime in their name. – SAnews.gov.za