The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has expressed concern at the ongoing business lootings and public violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The attacks, which have gone on for over six days in the two provinces, have seen the police watchdog unable to execute its legislative mandate. To date, 72 people have died in the ongoing violence.
In a statement, the IPID said it was unable to access crime scenes as well as deceased bodies.
“In this regard, the department calls on the members of the community to understand that the IPID investigators are not able to attend crime scenes of cases reported to us as well as reach the deceased bodies due to the chaos in the areas where protests are taking place,” read the statement.
IPID said it had been notified of a case of death reported to be at Shoprite in Inanda and investigators could not reach the body as well as the crime scene due to burning tyres and attacks on vehicles by protesters.
The department was notified of another incident where a person died due to loss of blood because the ambulance could not reach the person on time as a result of the protest.
IPID found a hand grenade at a First National Bank (FNB) ATM in Inanda and needed to access the area together with the bomb unit of the SAPS.
The IPID has urged members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) to continue to act and manage the situation within the confines of the law at all material times to avert any potential loss of lives.
The Directorate said it had learned through social media platforms about an alleged incident at Meerensee in Richards Bay where a matric learner was allegedly shot by the police.
It said it was following up in order to establish the authenticity of the information or incident itself.
“The department calls on the members of the community who may be aware of or know of such an incident to urgently contact our office and register the case. The department will issue a full report on cases received during protests and report on the ones which fall within the IPID mandate,” it said.