Police recovered explosives looted during a fierce service delivery protest in Diepkloof, Soweto.
On Wednesday, 14 June, residents of Soweto’s Diepkloof Hostel staged a tense service delivery protest, putting the N1 and N12 highways to a standstill.
Frustrated Members of the Diepkloof community blocked the roadway with rocks and burning tyres, forcing motorists to perform U-turns to avoid fast developing traffic gridlock.
Following the earlier closure, all roads in Diepkloof have since reopened to traffic.
During their protest activity, Diepkloof residents looted trucks, according to police spokesperson Colonel Mavela Masondo. “The protesters stopped and looted two trucks that were loaded with groceries and explosives before running back into the hostel.”
Saps officers from the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), the Tactical Response Team, the Bomb-Disposal Unit, and other law enforcement authorities, according to Masondo, pounced on the looters to recover the stolen property.
“The officials responded swiftly to recover the looted goods, especially the explosives due to the danger that they posed to the residents.
“A search was conducted at the hostel, with the help of community leaders (Izinduna). The Provincial Commissioner has appreciated the working relationship that the Saps continues to have with Izinduna and all community structures in the fight against crime,” Masondo said.
Masondo went on to say that police had opened a case of public violence. So far, no arrests have been made.
He said the police’s explosives unit confirmed that the explosives were dangerous and could explode. “We received information that the looted explosives are commercial explosives used in the mines. We suspect that the community was not aware because from a distance they look like polony,” Masondo said.
He added that some residents might not have surrendered all the explosives and urged them to hand them to authorities as soon as possible.
Watch Diepkloof protestors looting a truck during protests in Soweto:
#JHBTraffic This is not cool. Looting a truck while there is heavy traffic congestion. Actually, I don’t call it looting. It’s stealing. It’s believed that this is near Soweto this morning. #Diepkloof #Protest video: supplied. @SAPoliceService @JoburgMPD pic.twitter.com/wkZLjOvT9N
— 𝙵𝚊𝚒𝚣𝚎𝚕 𝙿𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚕 (@FaizelPatel143) June 14, 2023
Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, praised law enforcement authorities for acting quickly to collect the explosives during the Diepkloof protest.