Police in the City of Johannesburg have recovered firearms, ammunition for AK 47 assault rifles, drugs and looted items during an overnight operation called ‘Reclaim the Loot’.

Acting provincial commissioner, Tommy Ntombeni, joined the operation.

He says they focused on areas adjacent to the hotspots where the most looting took place. More than 20 people were arrested in Alexandra, Soweto and Cleveland.

“I must indicate that places like Tembisa, places like your Soweto, we have recovered quite a number of items which have been looted. And this has been through the help of the community or the community who provided addresses where we went and we got quite a number of items which were recovered,” says Ntombeni.

Destruction caused by riots in the past week runs into billions:

‘Clean-up vital’

The police raid comes as communities clean-up the areas affected by protests and looting.

Activist and African National Congress (ANC) member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislation, Fasiah Hassan, says the public’s move is vital for food security in South Africa’s townships.

She was speaking in Alexandra, where she had joined residents who were involved in mop-up operations on Saturday.

Hassan says people came from all walks of life to help restore order and dignity to Alexandra.

“I think there’s been a general feeling of helplessness among young people and people in general and we’ve all been looking for ways in which we can express ourselves in a positive way that allows us to rebuild. But also what a lot of people don’t realise that the cleanup campaign is fundamental to reopening stores, specifically stores that sell food, so being on the ground is going to make a very big difference because the next crisis is going to be food shortages in townships,” says Hassan.

Police with help from community members recover some looted goods in Gauteng: