Looting in Meadowlands on July 12, 2021 in Soweto. (Photo by Gallo Images/Papi Morake)
- Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says people should take videos and report people heading home with looted goods.
- Clean-up operations are under way at some affected shopping centres in Soweto.
- People have been urged to support those doing the cleaning up.
Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams appealed to people to use social media to expose those behind the widespread unrest, which has hit Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Ndabeni urged people to take videos, tweet and report people returning to their homes with looted goods.
She said her department, through the newly established oversight project management office (PMO), was playing its part to track down people inciting violence.
The office is made up of various digital communication and technology players, including social media platform owners, engineers and data scientists, who are assisting with tracking and tracing within the confines of the law.
Ndabeni-Abrahams was speaking at Jabulani Mall in Soweto on Wednesday.
She said the PMO was the only way to expose people who were using communication platforms for “selfish agendas”.
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Ndabeni-Abrahams was in Soweto, along with acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.
The ministers conducted a walkabout at the ransacked mall.
They also visited Maponya Mall, which was heavily guarded by community members, SAPS and SANDF.
“These videos that we take, this Tweeting, Facebooking that we do; let it work for the benefit of our country and save the democracy that we have. Let’s expose them utilising this information,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
“But, of course, as I said, we have established a platform for all the platform owners; those that are inciting violence, once they are tracked and traced, we report them to Twitter, Facebook and they are taken down.” she said.
She also warned people against spreading fake news.
“Just verify before you share anything. Let us not cause panic – let us not make people to want to stay home or kill themselves because we are destroying the hope that they have to say, as South Africa, together with government, we can defeat this demon that we have.”
Ndabeni-Abrahams urged young people to refuse to be coerced in taking part in the criminal acts because the instigators were “faceless”, and they needed to be exposed.
We appeal for calm from everyone, but most importantly, let us all be responsible citizens and protect the journalists that are continuing to expose the rot that is being driven by those that want to destroy our country.
“At the centre of it, let us protect our country with everything that we have, working closely with our law enforcement agencies,” she said.
Soweto residents took it upon themselves to protect stores that have not yet been looted.
In Pimville, people were in the streets, with placards, vowing to protect Maponya Mall and the township.
Meanwhile, other people have been assisting in clean-up operations at affected shopping centres.
News24 saw residents, clad in black refuse bags, cleaning up Ndofaya Mall, where 10 people were killed during a stampede while looting was under way on Monday night.
“Members of Sanco heard that we will be coming and reached out to say they have started a cleaning campaign; they requested support in terms of bringing equipment that will help them to clean,” Kubayi said.
“My appeal to everyone, who can be able to lend a hand, let’s do so to help rebuild our country.
“As government is working towards rebuilding, taking charge and making sure that thuggery does not continue, ours, as communities, is to help to rebuild.”