Atteridgeville calmer and clean-up underway

African News Agency

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A clean-up operation in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, had cleared most streets by Thursday morning as violent protests which had rocked the capital city waned.

Taxi drivers competed for customers and numerous people rushed to work on the chilly morning. Several learners were also making their way to different schools in the area.

The wreck of a heavy delivery truck, which was torched earlier in the week, had been removed from WF Nkomo Street leading into Atteridgeville. The wreck was still smouldering next to the busy street.

Along Seeiso Street, an elderly man was picking up stones from the road and placing them at the municipal park from which they had earlier been removed and scattered onto the street.

“I think the violence is over. We have to clean up and see what happens next. Maybe the violence will flare up again but I am not sure,” said the senior citizen who declined to be named.

In Pretoria central, shops were open on Thursday morning after some had closed early on Wednesday as business people feared looting which had spread across several townships, including Mamelodi, Mabopane, and Soshanguve.

Shop owner Yusuf Aleyak said he was closely monitoring the protests on a news channel, saying he feared losing his grocery stock to the protesters.

“It’s always calmer here in the city centre. I heard that businesses were damaged and looted by my brother in Mabopane. So we have to be careful,” said the small business owner.

On Wednesday, the Gauteng education department said the violent unrest that had gripped Tshwane had disrupted schooling, including mid-year examinations.

“Mid-year examinations for part time senior certificate candidates were affected by the protests. We have engaged the Department of Basic Education and a decision will be made on when the backup papers would be written. Backup papers have been prepared for such eventualities,” said spokesman Oupa Bodibe.

Regarding exams for other grades, Bodibe said the districts, in collaboration with principals, would discuss the revision of the timetable to accommodate the affected subjects.

Violence broke out this week with roads blocked, buses torched, and shops looted in Tshwane townships including Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, GaRankuwa and Hammanskraal. Protesters were against the selection of ANC MP Thoko Didiza as the mayoral candidate for the metro.

Police confirmed that two people were shot and killed in Mamelodi where foreign-owned shops were targeted.

The two deceased were allegedly part of a mob attempting to rob a Pakistani owned shop in the area.

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