The Star: Cops warn of more arrests after shops looted

Cops warn of more arrests after shops looted
25 July 2009, 15:52

By Fiona Gounden

The leader of hundreds of people responsible for looting shops in Durban this week should not think “she has got away with it”, warned police, saying they are still conducting intense investigations to charge the rest of the group.

However, the members of the South African Unemployed Peoples’ Movement (SAUPM), which is based in Durban, claim they are not “afraid of police”, and one person who was involved in the looting of shops has opened a case of assault against a police officer.

SAUPM leader Nozipho Mteshane yesterday warned that their “demonstrations are far from over”, and intense meetings were under way to “discuss their next plan of action in the city”.

The looters invaded supermarkets in Durban’s city centre on Wednesday, stealing and eating food from the stores.

About 100 members were arrested after branches of Shoprite and Pick n Pay were looted during a protest march in support of grants of R1 500 for the unemployed.

However, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize said such grants were unaffordable and distributing it to people would bankrupt the government.

Onlookers at the Shoprite store on Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street said members of the group ate chips, roasted chicken and other goods inside the store and loaded trolleys to take with them.

At the same time, another group raided the Pick n Pay store in the Workshop shopping centre.

A total of 90 of the arrested looters appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on theft charges on Thursday. They were released on warning and told to appear in court again on August 28.

Yesterday, SAPS spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said there were many more guilty parties out there besides the ones already arrested.

“Our investigations are still under way and we will be finding many other offenders who will be identified by questioning witnesses as well as by CCTV footage.”

* This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on July 25, 2009