TWO people were killed in Mabopane as disgruntled residents looted a mall amid unrest over the announcement of former Public Works Minister Thoko Didiza as ANC Tshwane mayoral candidate.
Tshwane Matro Police Executive Director Console Tleane said the duo were found dead at the Central City Mall in Mabopane Township, north of the capital city on Wednesday.
This was after looters cleared Central City as well as Batho Plaza shopping centre at the nearby Soshanguve Township, taking anything and everything they could lay their hands on.
This included food, furniture and electrical appliances.
“The two were found at the Central City Mall, in Mabopane. The SAPS will carry out investigations on what could have happened, save to say for now that the deaths do appear to be linked to the unrest,” Tleane said.
He said the unrest which broke in Mamelodi Township last week, before spreading to Atteridgeville, the CDB, Ga-Rankuwa and Hammanskraal, has negatively affected service delivery, especially waste management.
“The city will endeavour to not allow the situation to deteriorate and once again regret this unfortunate consequence. Waste management workers will move into affected areas as soon as it is safe to do so. Other areas in the city, including the CBD, remain unaffected and waste is removed,” he added.
By Thursday afternoon the situation was calm, Tleane said.
He said Mabopane, Soshanguve and Mamelodi remained the “epicentres of disturbances”.
Calm had returned to Atteridgeville and Hammanskraal.
Tleane added: “The cleaning up operations continues to be carried out. There was however a disturbance with city workers prevented from removing burnt wreckages of buses. The workers will go back as soon as it is safe to do so.”
He said Metro Police and their SAPS counterparts kept a watchful eye on all affected areas.
Tshwane police have called on residents to remain vigilant and cautious.
“We call on all residents and businesses not to rely on information SMSs and other forms of communication other than official channels. It has been found that most of the information being spread is misleading.”
This comes after WhatsApp messages circulated this week claiming that the unrest was plotted by a group of Tshwane ANC leaders at a hotel in the city.
Another message claimed Didiza had survived an assassination attempt after her car was sprayed with bullets while parked at a shopping centre.
The message turned out to be a hoax.
Angry ANC supporters, who demanded that Kgosientso Ramokgopa be retained as Tshwane Mayor, went on the rampage last week.
They torched 21 buses, four cars, a truck and looted shops across the capital city.
They also overturned a Metro Police vehicle, barricaded streets with burning tyres and rocks, and prevented people from going to work.
Ramokgopa, accompanied by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, failed to convince residents to stop the unrest.
His repeated pleas for them to not destroy public property and cause mayhem in his name fell on deaf ears.
The ANC deployed Didiza to Tshwane at the request of its Gauteng provincial executive committee which had rejected the three names submitted by the region for consideration.
The provincial leadership argued that none of the candidates was suitable to take the capital city forward after the August 3 local government elections.
Ramokgopa’s name wasn’t there.
Gauteng also argued that Didiza’s candidacy would defuse tensions between Ramokgopa and his ANC deputy, Mapiti Matsena and help stem factionalism within the regional structures.