South Africa 27.2.2015 06:28 pm

Local shop owners suspected in township unrest

FILE PICTURE: Members of the police guard a shop owned by foreign nationals after residents looted its contents, 21 January 2015, in Braamfischerville, Soweto. Residents have been targeting foreign owned shops in the area following a shooting incident in Snake Park, near Dobsonville where a foreign national allegedly shot dead a teenager who was trying to rob the shop. Picture: Alaister Russell

FILE PICTURE: Members of the police guard a shop owned by foreign nationals after residents looted its contents, 21 January 2015, in Braamfischerville, Soweto. Residents have been targeting foreign owned shops in the area following a shooting incident in Snake Park, near Dobsonville where a foreign national allegedly shot dead a teenager who was trying to rob the shop. Picture: Alaister Russell

Police on Friday said they suspected that local shop owners may be behind unrest and attacks on foreign-owned shops around Gauteng.

“We can say that we have information that they may be local business people involved in the attacks,” said Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale.

“We believe some of the people arrested may be working together with business owners.”

Police have been monitoring Thembelihle, Tsakane, Dobsonville, Doornkop, Vereeniging and Springs this week, following unrest activity.

“These protests often result in foreign nationals being attacked,” said Makgale, adding that he was concerned about the criminal activity.

Nine people were arrested after a foreign national was cornered in his shop in Soweto on Thursday.

His shop was petrol-bombed and he was set alight. The man was hospitalised with serious injuries.

“[The suspects] are expected to appear in the Dobsonville Magistrate’s Court on charges of public violence, attempted murder and possession of illegal firearm and ammunition,” said Makgale.

Their firearm was recovered in Dobsonville and would be sent for ballistic tests in order to establish whether it was also used in other crimes.

A foreign shop owner was arrested in Snakepark for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Three other people were arrested for damaging property after they allegedly threw stones at passing vehicles.

Meanwhile, a man has been arrested following a clash between the Indian community from Lenasia and black people from Thembelihle.

“We have now charged a suspect who was arrested for firing shots at protesters in Thembelihle, leading to a community member being injured,” said Makgale.

“Contrary to some of the media reports, the victim has not died. He is in hospital.”

Makgale said the situation was currently quiet but tense in all the areas.

“We will continue to monitor the situation,” he said.

 

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