LISTEN: Soweto police on how they were overpowered by looters

LISTEN: Soweto police on how they were overpowered by looters

Police in Soweto have told how they were overpowered by people looting shops last week.

police disperse protesters in Pretoria

Jabulani Mall, Protea Glen Mall, Sizwe Shopping Centre, Protea Gardens Mall are among those that are still closed down as they have been looted and damaged. 

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police visited some of the malls on Wednesday. 

Officials who were in charge when the looting took place gave a detailed brief of what happened.

Cleaning up operations are still underway at Jabulani Mall.

Station commander at Jabulani Police Station, Ennie Lebeko said after hearing of reports of looting in areas around Jabulani on Monday 12, they managed to close all entrances to the Mall and the road leading up to the mall. 

She said with only 9 other officers, Lebeko said they were overpowered by looters. 

"There was a huge crowd trying to get into the mall, we started firing rubber bullets, I think we had close to 2000 ammunition and used it all up. Later on, JMPD guys joined us but they came with only one car and they did not have firearms,"

"The crowd grew to close to 3000 people and we used rubber bullets which were also used up. As we were overwhelmed we saw a pickItup truck that was hijacked, the crowd came behind the truck and there were live rounds being shot by some of the people in the crowd. As the truck and the crowd approached our members had to step back to save their own lives. The truck hit the main gate and the crowd entered the mall," 

LISTEN to Lebeko here:

In Protea, station commander, Colonel Motlalepula Moata said they were informed by Sunday on WhatsApp that there would be a shutdown in the area. 

Moata said they called on all members including those on leave and rest day to come and assist.

"We saw around 11 am on Monday 12 August, 6 to 8 Quataum taxis with plus-minus 200 people at Fair Price. Immediately our members were posted, the big malls we posted two cars with five patrols, and the complexes there were only two cars,"

The area has eight malls, with the two big ones being Protea Glen Mall and Protea Gardens which were both looted and damaged. 

Moata said they warned the shop owners at different malls and complexes to close down operations as the situation was becoming volatile. 

"The looters descended to To the Protea Gardens Mall, at the mall it was only me and a commander, they were throwing stones at us, they were even swearing at us and told us we cannot shoot at them because they would open cases against us. I asked the commander that we request back up as the looters were overpowering us,"

She said like in Jabulani they were also told Public order police were deployed at the Constitutional Court and could not be dispatched to contain the situation. 

"We only had 95 roads of R5 rifles," said Moata

Listen here:

Police Committee Chairperson, Tina Joemat-Petterson said their priority now is the budget for peace, security, police, and SANDF. 

She said the lack of resources and manpower is caused by the budget that keeps getting cut.


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