Ten killed in stampede in Soweto as violent protests and looting continue: Makhura

Metro police officer among the 19 fatalities now recorded in Gauteng

13 July 2021 - 14:33
By nonkululeko njilo AND Nonkululeko Njilo
Gauteng premier David Makhura says 19 people have died during violent protests and looting in the province.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE Gauteng premier David Makhura says 19 people have died during violent protests and looting in the province.

Gauteng premier David Makhura is calling for peace and calm following a deadly stampede which claimed the lives of 10 people at the Ndofaya Mall in Soweto. 

The provincial death toll as a result of violent protests and looting of businesses has risen to 19, he said.

Makhura rushed to Meadowlands in Soweto following a public outcry and calls for help to contain the situation.  

“It is extremely sad. Looting is not a solution. We are losing lives. We cannot afford this. We are calling for calm, we are calling for peace,” Makhura said.

“This is destroying everything we had been building. The progress we had made in the township economy is being reversed by this looting, destruction and shutting down. The looting has to stop.”

The premier admitted law enforcement officials had been over-stretched in containing widespread looting. He called on community members to assist law enforcement officials.

Protests and looting continued on Tuesday despite the deployment of soldiers in some areas.

“We are calling for people to take charge. This cannot continue to happen in our areas.” 

The premier said shops were being targeted, including many owned by foreign nationals. 

Makhura said of the 19 people killed, one was a metro police officer. 

Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Kelebogile Thepa told TimesLIVE the officer died after responding to mass looting at Sam Ntuli Mall in Katlehong at around 9.30pm.

“Protesters were flooding the mall, when criminals opened fire on them while they were monitoring the situation and trying to maintain law, order, peace and stability in the area.

“The ambulance couldn't get to the scene. Alternative means were made to get him out, but he succumbed en route to hospital,” said Thepa.

Thepa said the officer was stationed at Zonkezizwe precinct and would have been in the service for 12 years on Tuesday.

“His colleagues who witnessed the incident have been provided with the necessary professional support."

Empd commissioner Isaac Jabulani Mapiyeye called for calm and appealed for peace and order.

“It is regrettable that the officer died at the hands of the community he worked so hard to serve and save, it is extremely unfortunate that we have lost such a dedicated member of staff who respected and loved serving the people.

“We do hope that the community will assist us find the perpetrators of this senseless act and put them behind bars where they belong,” Mapiyeye said.

The premier said part of the violence was systematically organised by people who wanted to create harm.

“We will get to them. We will put them behind bars,” he said.

Makhura added, “We want communities to work with us, to arrest these people, to calm the situation and make sure the criminal element does not take over.”

- Additional reporting by Iavan Pijoos