JOHANNESBURG – It was a chaotic Monday across various communities in the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metros as residents went on a rampage, looting and torching buildings.
The chaos began over the weekend when shops were ransacked and set alight in Jeppestown and Malvern following a fire at a building that left three people dead.
A Joburg metro police officer was also wounded during the chaos.
The looting soon spread to the communities of Tembisa, Reiger Park and Turffontein between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Videos and pictures emerged on social media showing shops being ransacked and stores burning after being set alight by residents.
It remains unclear what sparked the looting.
Gauteng police confirmed that 41 people have been arrested following chaos in Jeppestown, Malvern and Tembisa.
Some of the suspects were arrested for public violence, whilst others were picked up after they were found looting shops or being in possession of stolen items, police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said.
Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela condemned the incidents as blatantly lawless and inhumane.
“It is a sad day when people choose to capitalise on the misfortune of others to advance anarchy or criminality,” Mawela said.
“Three people perishing in a burning, collapsing building can never justify what is now happening in Jeppestown, Malvern and surrounding areas. With such a tragedy, the community should be uniting to assist those affected instead of seeing an opportunity to commit crime.”
“Those who are hell-bent on turning Gauteng into a crime haven will be found and will face the full might of the law,” Mawela added.
Law enforcement agencies as well as emergency and fire services were on the ground to ensure that the situation was contained and normality restored.
In Tembisa, Captain Kay Makhubele added that police had been deployed to monitor the situation after shops were torched along Oakmoor railway station.
“The situation is calm at the moment and we have police deployed in their numbers to monitor the situation,” Makhubele said.
Additional reporting by ANA