Gauteng MEC ‘deeply concerned’ about attacks on foreign owned shops in Soweto

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JOHANNESBURG, August 30 – The Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Environment Agriculture and Rural Development Lebogang Maile on Thursday said he was “deeply concerned” about the latest developments in Soweto.

Police said a third person succumbed to his injuries sustained during the violence on Wednesday that saw a number of foreign-owned shops. Two others died during the mayhem – one was shot and the other stabbed.

Maile said the shops were targeted and looted by “certain rotten elements in areas of Soweto”. He said, “this ugly incident” has led to the death of a 17-year-old teenager. The situation is tense and volatile. Police said 27 people have been arrested in connection with the mayhem.

“As the Gauteng provincial government we are calling for calm and we are appealing to the communities of the affected areas to exercise restraint and uphold the rule of law,” said Maile.

The MEC called on police to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of the teenager and expressed his condolences to the deceased’s family.

“If the root cause of the looting and targeting of foreign national owned shops is the selling of fake products and goods. Therefore, as the government we need to act in the best interest of our people,” said Maile.

“Tough action needs to be taken against those responsible, but this does not require the affected communities to take the law into their own hands.”

In recent weeks the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED), specifically the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs, has been inundated with complaints from consumers.

“These fake goods are not only a health risk but also bad for the economy of the province and the country at large. We will be intensifying our programme ‘O Kae Molao’ working closely with relevant law enforcement agencies to crack down on shops that sell fake products and goods,” warned Maile.

He said the Gauteng government will dispatch a team to solicit a deeper understanding of the grievances in lieu of the fact that these attacks are happening at the backdrop of socio-economic conditions faced by our people, as a result of our dire economy.

– African News Agency (ANA)