The South African Police Commissioner, General Mike Geldenhuys, has warned that his forces will show no mercy towards rioters, especially those discovered looting or committing arson.
GV PAN Fireman damp down burning building at Elsies River, Cape Town (4 shots)
GV Crowds watch
GV Burning roof of a house
GV Truck lifts burnt-out car and burnt-out truck (2 shots)
GV AND SV Schoolchildren leave school in Johannesburg (5 shots)
CU Moderator of Dutch Reformed Church, the Rev. Alan Boesak speaks in English
NEWSMAN: "What is your response to the shooting and the violence over the last two days?"
BOESAK: "I think, to begin with, it's tragic. But this is what people have been warning about ... from the very beginning, saying that the frustration and the anger of the community are running so deep that the grievances should be redressed as soon as possible. And the government should be serious about this. The government has not been serious about this, and we can see how this thing has been building up. It is now clear that, when the Minister of Police makes statements in parliament saying that `We have had enough, and we will now sort of see to it that this sort of thing will not happen any more', and giving, by that kind of statement, almost a blank cheque to the police. I think this is the kind of thing that happens. One should reiterate that this situation will probably continue, and will probably become worse until such time as there will be a very earnest search for what we have called a political solution."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The South African Police Commissioner, General Mike Geldenhuys, has warned that his forces will show no mercy towards rioters, especially those discovered looting or committing arson. He made his statement on Wednesday (18 June) as the Cape Times newspaper reported an unofficial death toll of 42 dead. Some two hundred people are believed injured in the country's worst riots for four years. The Commissioner said the situation had become generally quiet, apart from isolated cases of stone-throwing. But Reuters said the same day that eight people had been reportedly shot dead and others wounded in clashes between police and demonstrators in coloured areas of Cape Town. The Afrikaans Cape Town newspaper, Die Burger, said the eight dead were coloured people who had been looting and throwing stones, and that about fifty people had been injured.
SYNOPSIS: This was the scene at Elsies River, Cape Town on Tuesday (17 June). It was one of four places in the area where, according to a police spokesman from the capital, Pretoria, people had been killed in clashes between police and coloureds.
Coloured townships such as this have figured in the protracted schools boycott, protesting against inequalities in the segregated schools system.
While houses burned, there were stories of stoning and looting. Newsmen could not confirm details because a police ban stopped them from going into the affected areas. The drama climaxed three days of tension surrounding the fourth anniversary of Soweto riots.
Things were quieter in Johannesburg with children able to attend school normally. Reuters said thirty-five people were slightly wounded when police fired buckshot and rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing crowds during sporadic incidents around the Capital and Blomfontein. The Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church of Africa, the Reverend Alan Boesak, accused the government of responding with violence, repression and empty promises.