Police nab scores for vandalism and looting in Philippi

A group of men armed with stones cross the busy Klipfontein Road, in Lusaka, Nyanga. The men stoned vehicles at the corner of Borcherds Quarry and Klipfontein Road.

Law enforcement agencies had their hands full on Monday September 18 as they tried to curb unruly behaviour associated with the taxi strike across the peninsula.

Nyanga, which is regarded as the country’s murder capital, was highlighted as a “no-go zone” during the protest.

Delivery trucks were stoned on Borcherds Quarry and Klipfontein roads, as well as on Govan Mbeki Road in Philippi. Businesses in the area were not spared, with looting taking place.

Nyanga police spokesperson, Captain Ntomboxolo, Sitshitshi said the suspects – men and women aged between 18 and 25 – were arrested for looting and vandalising businesses in the Brown’s Farm area.

“Initially 36 were arrested and then 19 suspects were apprehended later in the day. More than 10 businesses were vandalised by community members.

“Thirty suspects were arrested for business robbery and malicious damage to property, seven for public violence and malicious damage to property, fourteen for business robbery and theft and two for the possession of stolen property.”

The suspects were due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Wednesday September 20.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, expressed outrage at the levels of violence during the protest.

He said two passengers, including a pregnant commuter, were injured when a MyCiTi bus was stoned in Khayelitsha.

“One of the commuters was hit in the face by a flying rock and the pregnant commuter fell during the violent attack near the Kuyasa stop. Both women were severely traumatised and admitted to hospital for treatment,” he said.

“MyCiTi personnel who were being transported in Khayelitsha were forced out of their vehicle, and another shift vehicle was hijacked in Philippi,” he said. “I am appalled by the violence and intimidation associated with the strike action by local taxi drivers.

“There is absolutely no justification for this criminal behaviour by those who prefer stones, threats, and fire to peaceful protest and negotiation,” he said.