Soweto violence: Some foreign-owned shops still closed, police monitoring

The streets of Soweto and other townships in Gauteng were calm following a week of violence and looting of foreign-owned shops, but police presence has been upped to monitor the situation.

Chaotic violence broke out during protests in White City, Soweto on Wednesday afternoon. Rubber bullets and tear gas were fired to disperse crowds in different shops in the suburb.

"Everything is now quiet. We haven't experienced any violence although we have deployed officers to monitor the areas across townships in Gauteng," Gauteng Police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini told News24 on Saturday.

Dlamini said while other foreign-owned shops remained closed, it was back to "business as usual" for other owners in other locations.

The looting and violence had spread to other townships across Gauteng by Wednesday evening.

READ: Government and FAWU condemn attacks on foreign informal traders in Soweto

The rioting and looting resulted in the deaths of four people, police said.

"Those who are taking precautions, have closed their shops," Dlamini said.

The violence was sparked by allegations that shop owners sold expired food to the public.

Johannesburg's Public Safety MMC Michael Sun also told News24 on Saturday that while other shops remained closed, as owners feared for their safety, there was intensified deployment from both SAPS and JMPD in the areas.

"The patrols are continuing and we are trying to suppress any potentially violent situations erupting. We have increased our deployment and every day, we have now monitored the situation," Sun said.

He added that there have been no further reports of violence reported and that they were hoping the situation would remain calm.

On Thursday, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it was concerned about claims of the sale of expired goods. It however said there was no justification for people taking the law into their own hands.

The Department of Trade and Industry has since said an inter-departmental meeting on illicit fake food products in South Africa, which was held in Pretoria on Thursday, has resolved to ensure that there was visible enforcement of all related regulations.

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