The Kagiso shutdown has, thus far, claimed one life as Gauteng law enforcement officials struggle to contain the unrest that’s been raging since 05:00 on Thursday morning.
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Kagiso shutdown: Why were residents rioting?
Tensions remain palpable in the Krugersdorp township situated west of Johannesburg. On Thursday morning, hundreds of residents gathered on Randfontein Road, one of the major routes in the West Rand, to kick off a day of rioting against the presence of illegal miners infamously known as ‘Zama Zamas’.
This group, largely made out of foreign nationals from Lesotho and other neighbouring countries, is linked to the Krugersdorp gang rape, where eight women, including a 19-year-old teen, were viciously violated this past weekend.
In retaliation to the gang rape, hundreds of residents took to the streets to take the law into their own hands in dealing decisively with the presence of ‘Zama Zamas’.
This is despite the fact that on Wednesday, Gauteng authorities had led a collaborative operation targeting ‘Zama Zama’-infiltrated mine dumps and arrested more than 40 illegal miners.
Speaking to Times Live, community leader Kabelo Mohlope revealed that while ‘Zama Zamas’ were the central trigger of the Kagiso shutdown, residents have long endured high levels of crime in the township.
“The issue in Kagiso is crime and not only zama-zamas, because the community has been addressing the issue of crime since long ago. Even in my ward, we have been having issues with robbery at gunpoint. And three months back they stole computers from our clinic,” Mohlope revealed.
From what we understand, at least one victim was killed in violent clashes with public order police. The nature and cause of the unidentified victim’s death remain unknown at this time.
Moreover, at least five rioters were arrested, albeit it’s unclear on what charges.
Here are some of the videos that surfaced on social media, showing the violent scenes that unfolded in Kagiso, on Thursday.