So frenetic was the fighting between looters and police in Mabopane City on Wednesday night that officers under attack ran out of rubber bullets.
News24 has obtained two radio transmissions from desperate police officials who were surrounded on the ground.
In the transmissions, an officer urgently calls for backup.
“Urgent backup! Urgent backup Central City! Urgent backup Central City!”
Looting reached fever pitch in Mabopane, Ga-Rankuwa, Soshanguve and Mamelodi, with the cover of nightfall adding an advantage for the thieves.
Police officers from across the province descended on the townships in an effort to quell the criminality and are stretched thin.
A police source with knowledge of the operation, who could not be named as he is not authorised to the speak to the media, said officers are struggling to cope.
“There are simply not enough police officers and we are overwhelmed. With the way we are engaging these people while trying to protect property and disperse them we are running out of rubber bullets. A lot of people haven’t even been issued with rubber rounds,” he said.
Days of violent civil unrest, which started with protests and have since degenerated into mass looting, have followed the ANC’s announcement of Thoko Didiza as their preferred mayoral candidate for Tshwane.
Two people have been killed and over 40 others arrested so far.[Source: News24]