Joburg City urges SAPS to probe arson cases during Rosettenville protests
TMG Digital | 2017-02-12 12:02:03.0
MMC for safety Michael Sun said the suburb had descended into chaos once again on Saturday. File photo.
Image by: IRS Investigations via Twitter
The City of Johannesburg has called on the South African Police Service to investigate cases of arson during protests in Rosettenville and to utilise its Crime Intelligence unit to assist the City in its fight against drugs and crime.
The appeal comes in the wake of further protests against alleged drug dens and brothels in the southern suburb on Saturday during which 15 houses were allegedly targeted and burnt.
Member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for safety Michael Sun said the suburb had descended into chaos once again on Saturday after residents had initially gathered peacefully to protest against the serious drug and prostitution problems in the area. He said the gathering had started peacefully and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department was on the scene to maintain order.
“Whilst this was welcomed by the residents‚ the situation became out of control when SAPS decided to disburse the crowd by firing rubber bullets and tear gas grenades into the crowd. This not only angered the protestors but prompted community members to take the law into their own hands.
“Angry residents chanting ‘Burn‚ burn‚ burn’ began to attack suspicious drug dens and brothels and setting them alight‚” Sun added.
He said he had rushed to the scene when he had received this information from ward councillor Michael Crichton. “When I arrived on the scene‚ one house was already on fire but two Joburg Emergency Management Services fire engines were there to distinguish the fire.
“I was also taken to the elderly resident that was injured by the rubber bullet and shown her injuries.
“My assessment of the situation was that most of the crowd were spectators and were not violent at all. Many of the elderly spectators were unable to move away from the scene quickly and became vulnerable‚” Sun said.
Together with five other councillors from the area‚ he had addressed the community and called on them to be calm and conduct themselves in an orderly manner‚ he added. Sun said that while the City was stepping up its efforts in the eradication of crime in Joburg‚ it would take the cooperation of the residents to make it happen.
“As much as we are all in the fight against crime‚ we simply cannot allow for the residents to take the law into their own hand and risk the safety of innocent bystanders. “I call upon the SAPS to investigate cases of arson and utilise its Crime Intelligence to assist the City in our fight against drugs and crime‚” Sun added.