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Pretoria Violence: 2 Shot Dead by Police in SA

South African police said yesterday they had shot dead two people suspected of looting shops in Pretoria continued violence triggered by th...

South African police said yesterday they had shot dead two people suspected of looting shops in Pretoria continued violence triggered by the ruling party’s choice of a mayoral candidate for local polls.

Police said they also arrested 40 of the rioters who were targeting foreigners’ shops as public anger mounted over economic hardships in the build-up to Aug. 3 elections likely to become a referendum on President Jacob Zuma’s leadership.

Residents of Pretoria’s townships started setting cars and buses alight on Monday night after the ruling African National Congress’ (ANC) named a candidate in the Tshwane municipality where the capital city is located, overruling the choice of regional branches.

Burned-out cars blocked roads yesterday.
Protests in Pretoria have Turned Violent  

The two killed were shot on Tuesday night. “Two of the suspects were shot and killed following looting at Mamelodi,” police said in a statement, adding that those arrested would face charges of violence and theft.

“Incidents of protests and looting continued in other areas while situation is tense in others.” Violence continued in parts of the capital and other cities like Durban yesterday.

Protesters continued to clash with police and “a disproportionate part of the looting was taking place at shops owned by foreign nationals,” Tshwane Metro police spokesman Console Tleane told eNCA television.

Foreigners, many of them from other African countries, last suffered a wave of attacks in April last year, by crowds blaming them for taking jobs and business.

In another development, Times Live reported yesterday that The Hawks are investigating whether senior African National Congress members in Tshwane are behind the wave of civil unrest in the capital city.

“I can confirm that arrests will be made soon of people implicated. Our investigations are at an advanced stage and we have names of people who allegedly orchestrated the violence‚“ said Hawks spokesman Hangani Mulaudzi.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told eNCA that the party had names and pictures of members of the party who held a meeting to disrupt Tshwane after the party announced that former cabinet minister Thoko Didiza was its mayoral candidate for the city.

The hunt for the alleged instigators of the protests — which saw two people killed overnight‚ at least 20 busses torched‚ businesses looted and roads barricaded — gathered speed yesterday as details emerged of an allegedly clandestine meeting at a hotel where a plot was allegedly hatched on Monday to render the city ungovernable.

The Pretoria News reported that the meeting was chaired by a senior ANC official and attended by branch leaders and ward councillors who were opposed to the appointment of Didiza.

The meeting was co-ordinated and chaired by a senior ANC official and attended by branch leaders and ward councillors and candidates for the August 3 elections.

Under the command of the official, whose identity is known to the Pretoria News, the faction that was unhappy with Didiza’s appointment came up with a four-point resolution. The plan was to turn the city into a battlefield if “Sputla” — mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa — was not back in for another term.

Dubbed the “Court Classique Resolutions”, the group vowed to torch all government and city properties, close exits and entry points of all zones, burn the ANC regional office and disrupt all political activities.

The city politicians, whose names have been withheld, coined the phrases: #OneMayorOneChairperson and #NoSputlaNoVote as their war cry.

These slogans were to vibrate through the townships of the capital as they burnt in the past 24 hours in what will go down as one of the biggest single unrest events in post-apartheid South Africa.

By the time the meeting was adjourned, scores of people arrived and started the violence, overturning a patrolling metro police car before going on a rampage in Arcadia and surrounds.

In the last 24 hours‚ looting and damage of property was the order of the day in Mamelodi‚ Atteridgeville‚ Mabopane and Hammanskraal. Foreign shop owners took refuge in a police station yesterday when residents ran amok‚ looting shops in Mamelodi West.

Everything in the shops was stripped. Cables‚ bulbs and crates were taken. Shop owners were left with no choice but to take their stock and flee.

“Let them go and never come back again. We do not want them here‚” said one of the looters as she snatched a light bulb. — Wires.

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