UPDATE: Pretoria West attack may be ‘far from over’

Xenophobia may be the underlying issue that sparked community members to set a house on fire in Pta West on Saturday morning.
According to Pta West CPF spokesperson Thesigan Pillay, the house and Wendy torched belonged to foreign nationals. “A primary reason for the attack could be ascribed to policing dissatisfaction and lack of bylaw enforcement.”

He said his view remains that this attack might only be the beginning.

“We are meeting with the community to talk about issues and how we can move forward without resorting to violence. Although social problems are serious we cannot stress it enough that community members should not take the law into their own hands.”

He said xenophobia is not acceptable.
“Mob unrest is steadily increasing for example the Bremer Street unrest. The motivation might be the same but the same mob culture is developing,” Pillay said.
Tshwane emergency services spokesperson, Johan Pieterse, said on Saturday morning that the house was burned down but that the Wendy only gained smoke damage. He said four people were inside the Wendy but that no one was injured.

The Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi – Malobane, condemned terms the acts of violence and damage to property in Pretoria West.

“Community members went on a rampage destroying properties belonging to alleged drug dealers and brothel owners in the area. So far, two properties belonging to foreign nationals have been burned,” Nkosi said in a statement said.

“It is a constitutional right for members of our communities to organize themselves and engage in a peaceful protest but once that right is violated by burning and vandalizing of properties it becomes a crime.”

Nkosi siad communities have avenues that  they can explore to raise their policing concerns instead of resorting to illegal and violent protests.

“These avenues include raising their concerns with their local Community Policing Forum, the Cluster Commander, Provincial Police Hotline – 082 820 6467 or lay a complaint at my department’s complaints division so that the matter can be investigated and resolved,” the MEC said.

Also read: Notorious Pta West house set alight

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  AUTHOR
Natalie Grobler
Online journalist

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