Three suspected instigators of last week’s violent business lootings that claimed the lives of over 200 people are expected to appear in West Rand courts on Monday and Tuesday.
The development was on Sunday confirmed by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) in a statement.
Two of the suspects were arrested on Thursday and Friday by police in the West Rand District in Roodepoort and Westonaria on allegations of creating and circulating inflammatory messages with the potential of inciting violence.
The two are on Monday expected to appear before the Randfontein and Westonaria Magistrate’s Courts, respectively.
“A third suspect, a 21-year old woman, was arrested in Duduza in the Ekurhuleni District on Saturday 17 July 2021 on similar allegations. She is expected to appear before the Nigel Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday,” said the NatJOINTS.
The structure reiterated its call for people to refrain from inciting violence by creating and circulating inflammatory messages that seek to do nothing but elevate the levels of tension, confusion and fear among communities.
“These messages instil fear in our communities and undermine the authority of the State,” NatJOINTS said.
The structure, through its Intelligence Coordinating Community (ICC), said it was also aware of more messages cropping up and circulating on various social media platforms, threatening to attack police stations and disarm law enforcement officers; attack courts of law and key infrastructure such as fuel pipelines and refineries; and more looting.
“The JOINTS has subsequently mobilised maximum resources to address these threats and heighten visibility. Measures have also been put in place to ensure stability, and the protection and safety of those who are not involved in the unrest and wish to go on with their daily routine,” the structure said.
To avoid arrest, looters of businesses during last week’s violent unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have been urged to surrender the goods.
NatJOINTS welcomed the many calls and tip-offs received via the MySAPS app from various communities in the two provinces.
These have resulted in the integrated security forces recovering volumes of suspected stolen property whose value is yet to be determined.
“By this morning a total of 3 407 suspects had been arrested on various charges since the violence erupted over a week ago, with only one suspect granted bail, 1 122 expected to appear in different courts in the two most affected provinces, and the remaining dockets under investigation,” reads the statement.
“In the concerted response by the NatJOINTS to the recent acts of unrest and opportunistic criminality, where tensions now appear to be simmering down, security forces embarked on recovery operations with the collaboration of citizens who have gone out of their way giving tip-offs to the police, and some cleaning up their streets and business premises that were affected by the looting in the past week.”
The NatJOINTS warned that those who were not part of the looting spree but were buying stolen property would also be arrested for being in possession of stolen property.
In Gauteng, during integrated operations at a number of hostels in mostly Tembisa, Johannesburg, Alexandra and Moroka over the weekend, 14 suspects were arrested for being in possession of suspected looted property.
Among the goods recovered were bed mattresses, television sets, couches, fridges, sound systems, computer screens and laptops, steel frames, groceries and clothing items.
In KwaZulu-Natal, 92 suspects were arrested over the weekend for the same crime.
Members of the public are urged to continue to report criminality to the police, which may be done anonymously by calling the crime stop number 08600 10111 or via the MySAPS app that can be downloaded onto any smartphone.