Johannesburg – National police on Tuesday put the official death toll during the past week’s looting and violence directed at foreign-owned shops at five.
This is despite their own reports in the past week saying seven people were killed in violence involving foreign nationals in Gauteng. The killing of a Somali businessman in Nhlungwane, KwaZulu-Natal, was also not included in the death toll.
“It is five,” Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale said. He also claimed there was a distinction between deaths directly related to looting, and the unrest.
“No one has been killed outside Gauteng,” he said.
The list of those killed in Gauteng is:
1) Siphiwe Mahori, 14, was shot dead in Snake Park after a foreign national shop owner shot into a group believed to be trying to rob him (confirmed by the police);
2) Nhlanhla Monareng, 19, was shot and killed in Naledi (confirmed by the police);
3) A 61-year-old bystander was shot and killed in Swaneville, on Gauteng’s West Rand, when a foreign-owned shop was being stoned;
4) A baby was trampled by looters in Kagiso (confirmed by police);
5) and 6) Two suspected looters killed in Langlaagte (confirmed by police) and;
7) Malawian shopkeeper Dan Mokwena, 74, was attacked and killed as he slept.
Makgale said the Swaneville bystander was not added to the police’s death toll as he was not involved in looting. He was killed as a foreign national allegedly fired at a crowd stoning his shop on Thursday night. He was in a tavern with a friend when they heard noises outside and went to investigate. This was when he was shot.
Makgale said Mokwena’s death was not linked to looting. The Star reported that he was attacked and killed as he slept in his shop in Soweto in the early hours of Wednesday.
KwaZulu-Natal Safety MEC Willies Mchunu said a Somali businessman in eNhlugwane was killed on Saturday.
“It alleged that an unknown man burst into the shop, opened fire, killing the shop owner. The suspect fled and no goods were stolen,” Mchunu said.
Makgale said there was a difference between the looting, such as in Soweto, and other crime that happened daily.
“There is normal criminal activity throughout the year that involves foreign nationals, so do we then add all those names also? There was no looting in the KZN incident.”