Xenophobia strikes Thabazimbi

One of the shops that was looted Monday night. Photo: Christina Lopang
One of the shops that was looted Monday night.
Photo: Christina Lopang

THABAZIMBI – Foreigners, all Zimbabwean and Pakistani, owners of spaza shops in Extensions 1 and 3 of Regorogile, Thabazimbi, including the Meretin shop in another extension, were taken to the safety of the Thabazimbi Police Station while their shops were looted on Monday night. One of the shops was set alight.
On Monday night at about 22:30 a group of community members, alleged to have been concerned about a rapist being active around Thabazimbi, gathered at the four-ways stop entering Regorogile, where one of the spaza shops is also located. The Police arrived to disperse the people. Apparently the crowd was told that the rapist has left town and was nowhere to be found. Upon this they blocked the road with stones and started burning tyres.
They even uplifted pavement, next to the road, to use as material along with stones to block the road entering Regorogile.
This allegedly was the spark that lead to them starting to loot stock from four foreigner’s tuck shops. As all the owners use their shops as living space, they were quickly evicted by the police and were taken to Thabazimbi SAPS for safety. Shouts were heard demanding that the foreigners have to go back to where they came from.
The looting of foreigner shops went on until about 03:00 Tuesday morning when the mobs were eventually dispersed by the SAPS. At this stage the value of the looted stock is unknown and no injuries were reported.
The commotion woke inhabitants of Regorogile who got out of bed to find out what it was all about. According to unconfirmed reports it was started by young men, but soon women and young children were drawn in. Kids threw stones at window shops after which adults started looting, breaking open doors with koevoet’s.
Four cases of Burglary in business were opened and eight people were arrested. More police officials were posted at Regorogile to stabilise at the situation.
The EFF spokesman, Kopo Motshegwa, Ward 09 Chairperson, reacted on the media statement from the police by saying the SAPS are insinuating that those people who showed their concern about the rapist was behind the attack.
On Saturday 25 April there was an unrelated incident at about 07:00 at a small spaza shop (Pakistani owner without arms) where the shop was broken into and R2000 cash was stolen.
The situation is under control at this stage but can change at any moment. Victim’s of xenophobic attacks are temporarily moved to Thaba Park where tents will be erected.