Police could do nothing but watch on as Tembisa residents pillaged foreign-owned shops.
The situation in Johannesburg is pretty intense. The City of Gold has been gripped by widespread tensions between locals and foreign nationals. On Monday, videos showing Tembisa residents looting foreign-owned spaza shops have gone viral.
What is happening in Tembisa?
Law enforcement agencies in Johannesburg have been stretched to their limit after riots and unrest broke out in different parts of the city.
On one hand, police are dealing with the ongoing nationwide truck strike that has captured most of South Africa’s main transit routes. The call, from the trucking industry, is for employers to stop hiring foreign-born drivers.
On the other, foreign-owned shops have been left exposed to angry residents who, since Monday morning, have been subjected to violence and looting.
In Tembisa, police could do very little to stop the large groups of residents who took apart the spaza shops that, for years, have catered low-price retail services to the community.
Rioters could be seen entering the stores in droves and leaving with stolen goods.
What has fuelled these violent riots?
While there have been no engagements with rioters to determine why they have targeted foreign-owned shops, as yet. One can draw parallels between the violence that encapsulated some parts of Gauteng with the xenophobic riots that took place in Pretoria last week.
The murder of a taxi driver, who was allegedly shot by foreign national, caused the outrage that we saw in Pretoria. Foreign-owned shops were looted and taxi drivers clashed with defiant foreign nationals who warned that they were prepared to “kill” rioters.
Where else are foreign-owned shops being looted?
Besides the looting that has been taking place in Tembisa, other areas have been affected by the same type of violence too.
In Turrfontein, journalists from SABC News were warned to leave the area when scores of rioters looted a shop — believed to be foreign-owned — right in front of the police, who, in their small numbers, could do nothing to stop the violence.
You can watch all the videos of the looting below.