Mzansi split over taxi association calls to protect malls from looters

The SA National Taxi Association deployed its members to three malls in Tshwane to protect them against looting.

The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) has been applauded by many for deploying members to protect malls in Tshwane from possible looting, but the move has been slammed by others.

The association announced this week that it had “taken over the protection of three malls in Soshanguve” and would protect businesses in the area from the looting that has gripped parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal since the weekend.

National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) spokesperson Brenda Muridili said on Wednesday 1,234 people had been arrested in connection with mass looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Of those arrested, 549 were apprehended in KwaZulu-Natal and 683 in Gauteng. 72 people have died in the unrest in the two provinces and 14 murder cases were being investigated in KwaZulu-Natal and 19 in Gauteng.

Santaco said in protecting the malls it would “refrain from engaging in physical actions with perpetrators”.

“In the course to help stop vandalism and looting, we call on our structures countrywide to refrain from engaging in physical actions with perpetrators. Law enforcement remains the responsibility of government,” it said in a statement.

It came amid reports of taxi drivers guarding Vosloorus Mall in Gauteng opening fire on looters with what was believed to be live ammunition on Wednesday morning.

The taxi drivers from the Katlehong People’s Taxi Association opened fire on hundreds of looters who were gathering outside the mall, which had been ransacked overnight.

A 13-year-old boy was killed in the running battles.

Santaco also directed all its taxi leaders in KwaZulu-Natal to resume normal operations and said it would “help with cleaning efforts as part of bringing the province [back]  to normality”.

Santaco’s statements were applauded by many online, but criticised by others who claimed it could lead to more violence.

Among those objecting to the move was EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, who said vigilantism should not be celebrated.

Here are several other reactions shared on social media:

By Kyle Zeeman – TimesLIVE