Soweto malls on high alert ahead of planned national shutdown

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Some malls in Soweto have upped their security with the help of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and private security ahead of the Monday’s planned national shutdown organised by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Diepkloof Square, which saw looting during the 2021 unrest that affected parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, has SAPS members stationed at the mall to make sure no unlawful activity happens at the centre.

During SABC News visit to Diepkloof, members of the police were in patrol monitoring the situation together with members of the local Community Policing Forum (CPF).

A member of the Diepkloof CPF, who asked to remain anonymous says residents have agreed that they will protect local business establishment after their suffered heavily following the 2021 unrest.

“We got together as the community of Diepkloof and we decided that what we saw in 2021 cannot happen again because we were that ones that ended up suffering. We are not saying we are against anyone exercising their rights, but our stand is, let us not suffer,” says the CPF member.

She says while she hopes that Monday’s planned shutdown does not yield any violence, she says South Africans suffer from the effects of load shedding “but we won’t allow that to put us in that situation of looting”.

Maponya Mall, which was guarded by community members in 2021, had private security visibility on Sunday evening. A couple of SAPS members are also on standby to monitor the situation.

Six kilometres away from Maponya Mall is another black-owned mall in Soweto, Jabulani Mall, which was affected by the looting that took place almost two years back.

Earlier in the day, the police saw off a group a group of about 30 protester believed to be EFF members.

The police say they are ready to face any attempts of lawlessness. A police officer stationed there says private security reinforcement is at around 60 members for that business precinct alone.

The private security at Jabulani is heavily armed with automatic rifles and crowd control shields and batons.

There was no military visibility at any of the malls visited in Soweto.

Meanwhile, EFF leadership says their protest will be a peaceful one, while the state security forces are on high alert for any eventuality come Monday’s shutdown.


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