Nineteen suspects will on Monday appear before the Verulam Magistrates Court in connection with a series of explosive devices found across Durban between March and August.
The Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) and the Police Ministry said in a joint statement on Monday the suspects will also appear in connection to the deadly mosque attack in Verulam in May.
During this period, Durban and surrounding areas reported several incidents of placing and detonating devices and widespread hoax callers, the SAPS said.
“The 19 suspects were arrested last week Friday in and around Durban by an integrated team involving the Hawks (Crimes Against the State), Crime Intelligence, the Forensic Unit, the National Prosecuting Authority including other departments from the Justice Cluster,” said Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi.
Several items, including readymade incendiary devices, were confiscated during the arrests, he said.
Members also managed to rescue a victim who was found chained and malnourished inside a dungeon in one of the houses. The victim is under police protection in one of the hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.
The suspects are likely to face charges of murder, attempted murder, extortion, kidnapping, contravention of the Explosive Act and arson. More charges cannot be ruled out, Mulaudzi said.
Police Minister Bheki Cele welcomed the arrests and congratulated the multi-disciplinary team for working tirelessly to restore peace in Durban.
“Government has deemed the incidents very serious and they demanded a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to book. Nothing will distract or divert our attention from creating a safe and secure environment for all people of South Africa,” Cele said.
“I also want to reiterate the government stance and reassure South Africans that we, as the South African Police Service, we will continue to do everything within our constitutional mandate to ensure that people are and feel safe,” said Minister Cele.
National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, and the National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, also welcomed the arrests.