A group of 16 suspects made off with five cash registers, money and groceries when they stormed a supermarket in Gatesville, Athlone, on Tuesday afternoon, Western Cape police have confirmed.
Four people have been arrested.
This was one of three incidents reported in one afternoon in Cape Town which has resulted in “reinforced deployments” following burglaries, looting and public violence.
Footage of the incident at Shoprite, which took place at 14:40, showed people running from the supermarket carrying baskets and tossing goods into trolleys as they escaped from the scene.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said Athlone police responded and arrested four suspects aged between 21 and 24.
Some of the stolen items were recovered.
In Manenberg, about 5km away, large crowds took to the streets and broke into two wholesalers, “helping themselves to grocery items”, Potelwa said.
“Tracing operations by the police to track the suspects and retrieve stolen items are currently underway,” she added.
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz condemned the looting.
“At present, we find ourselves facing a humanitarian crisis because of the lockdown and economic challenges that follow are only going to exacerbate these challenges further,” he said.
“It is a struggle for many to put food on the table.”
The provincial government had taken a number of steps to assist as much as it could, Fritz added.
“However, I must be clear: looting will not be tolerated.”
Meanwhile, three people were arrested following sporadic protests in Tafelsig which started mid-morning.
“Large crowds took to the streets in protest against food parcels being distributed to some communities within the broader Mitchells Plain. Tyres were burnt, roads barricaded and police pelted with stones,” Potelwa said.
She warned the public against taking part in criminal conduct.
“The police will not hesitate to take decisive action against those breaking the law. Forces will remain at identified locations until calm is restored.”