Gauteng, KZN deaths, arrest numbers revealed

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More than 750 people were arrested for wanton destruction and looting of businesses and properties over the past five days.

Of these, 304 were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal with 453 apprehended in Gauteng.

This was revealed by Ministers in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster on Tuesday during a press briefing on violence in the provinces.

Ministers in the cluster met over the past two days to discuss reports from the Joint Operations Committee (JOCOM) of the SA Police Service (SAPS) and State Security Agency (SSA).

These included intelligence information from SSA, Police Crime and Defence Intelligence. The intelligence information provided timeous, critical and unique analysis information to give early warning signs of potential risks and dangers.

“Law enforcement officers used this intelligence in responding with speed to the issues on the ground and attending to areas identified as potential hotspot areas,” said Police Minister Bheki Cele, speaking on behalf of the cluster.

He said Ministers were satisfied with the reports they received and were confident law enforcement agencies were able to do their job effectively.

Of grave concern was the loss of lives accompanying violence and destruction to property. Ten people were killed in the two provinces.

“In all our operations, we have the responsibility to save lives. The current situation on the ground is under strong surveillance and we will ensure it does not deteriorate further. We cannot allow anyone to make a mockery of our democratic state and we instructed law enforcement agencies to double their efforts the stop the violence and to increase deployment on the ground,” he said.

The cluster called for an immediate end to violence, looting and disregard of the law as well as an immediate return to peace and stability.

The Ministers were encouraged and heartened by messages from South Africans saying their shops, malls, taxis, trucks and other transport infrastructure will not be destroyed.

“These messages of support echo the attitude of our country that infrastructure is the lifeblood of our society and economy.

“Without these we cannot hope to grow our economy, ensure we have food and fuel and can go about our daily lives toward the goal of prosperity for all.”

Cele said South Africa was a democratic state governed by the Constitution.

While South Africa’s Constitution guarantees the right of every person to protest, to organise and to engage in free expression and free association, this should not infringe on the rights of others who may not want to protest.

“No amount of unhappiness or personal circumstances, gives the right to anyone to loot, vandalise and do as they please and break the law.

“We call on communities to exercise restraint in dealing with the situation and above all ensure innocent civilians are not harmed,” he said.

The JCPS urged all communities and groups to reject calls for violence and making the country ungovernable