It’s not xenophobia, it’s hunger: Joburg looting

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Locals in Turffontein, south of Johannesburg, have disputed claims that the looting there is fuelled by xenophobia. They say that some foreign nationals have also been arrested for the same crime.

Foreign shop owners, whose shops were not looted, are moving out of the area.

One resident says the looting is pure criminality.

“We suspect as, local people, that criminality is taking a chance. And on the other hand, also South Africa today can at least be exonerated that the looting is not South African; is not xenophobic, but it’s pure hunger. And today, the people that have been arrested more than anything else, police here can confirm, Burundians were caught, Zimbabweans were caught… so, they cannot continue saying this thing is xenophobic. It’s Africans… they are hungry.”

Shops have been closed in most parts of central Johannesburg and police are monitoring the situation after violent incidents of looting.

Police have been engaged in running battles with a group of people targeting shops in the Hillbrow area this afternoon. This follows similar incidents in Tembisa, Turffontein, Jeppestown and Malvern.

At one of the shops, just opposite Bree Street Taxi rank, fruits can be seen scattered on the pavement. There, looters vandalised the fruit stand. All nearby businesses have closed shop for fear of losing their stock.

In Germiston, east of Johannesburg looters have been trying to break into closed shops.

Police continue to monitor the situation.