Five suspects arrested in connection to Phoenix murders


Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says five suspects have been arrested in relation to the murders in Phoenix, in KwaZulu-Natal following incidents of unrest in the area a week ago.

Ntshavheni said this when she briefed the media to provide an update on the security situation after a week of violence and looting as well as outline government’s interventions to rebuild the economy.

“In terms of arrests that are related to the murders, five additional people were arrested for the unrest-related murders in KwaZulu-Natal, and bringing the total arrests for the murders to 20. The five additional arrests are in connection to the murders in Phoenix,” she said.

She said there were no new updates on the arrest of instigators and key roleplayers in the unrest.

Also, given that the security situation has stabilised, security updates will now be done once a week to allow law enforcement to focus on their investigations.

Ntshavheni said the SA Police Service has not revised the death toll in Gauteng since her last media briefing, which remains at 79. However, in KwaZulu-Natal, the death toll figures have been revised downwards from 258 to 251, as some deaths that were previously included were not related to the unrest.

Giving a breakdown of murders recorded per district in Gauteng, Ntshavheni said to date, there were four murders in Sedebeng, 11 in Johannesburg and 27 in Ekurhuleni, bringing the total number of murders in the province to 42.

In terms of inquest dockets that have been opened, three were from Sedibeng, 12 from Johannesburg, and 22 were from Ekurhuleni, bringing to total number of inquest dockets in the province to 37.

Ntshavheni said to date, there are no deaths reported in Tshwane and in the West Rand.

Giving a breakdown of murders recorded per district in KwaZulu-Natal, Ntshavheni said of the 251 murders that were reported, one was from Amajuba, three from Harry Gwala, three were from Umzinyathi, three from Umkhanyakude, six from King Cetshwayo, eight from ILembe, nine from Ugu, 20 from UmGungundlovu and 110 came from eThekwini. This brings the total number of murder cases to 163.

Ntshavheni said in terms of the number of inquest dockets that were opened in KwaZulu-Natal, three were opened in Amajuba, seven in Harry Gwala, three in Umzinyathi, one in Umkhanyakude, two were from King Cetshwayo, eight were in ILembe, four in Ugu,  15 in UmGungundlovu  and 52 came from eThekwini.

This brings the total number of inquest dockets opened in the province to 87.

To date, there are no deaths reported in Uthukela and Zululand.

Ntshavheni said a case of culpable homicide was opened after a person was run over during looting incidents in the province.

She said after President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on Sunday, Ministers in the Economic Cluster will hold a media briefing to update the nation on the package of interventions that have been put together to help businesses affected by the unrest.

Meanwhile, Acting Minister of Health, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, is currently in KwaZulu-Natal to assess the impact of the unrest on both the vaccination programme and the healthcare services in general to enable the department to support the province on a catch-up programme.

Following the looting of medicines, Ntshavheni said government continues to remind South Africans not to buy stolen medicines as they may be contaminated and dangerous.