212 dead; 2 554 arrested: KZN and Gauteng count cost of days of unrest
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The situation in both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng was gradually and firmly returning to normal following the spate of incidents of looting and violent protests.
This happened as the N2 and N3 highways were reopened yesterday, and the transportation of key foodstuffs, medical supplies and fuel to all parts of the country commenced.
However, the death toll arising from the violent protests has risen to 212 and arrests to 2554.
Briefing the media on Friday afternoon, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said there were no new incidents overnight in Gauteng, and they remained at 58.
Ntshavheni also said six additional deaths were reported, bringing the number to 32.
There were 137 additional arrests, bringing the number to 862.
“SANDF deployments supporting SAPS remain in Gauteng, in the potential hotspots. There are deployments across the country because we don’t want people who instigate to take advantage of the other provinces.”
Ntshavheni said there were 1488 incidents overnight in KwaZulu-Natal.
She also said 89 additional deaths were reported bringing the number to 180, while additional arrests totalled 214, bringing the number to 1692 there.
“Law enforcement agencies are closely monitoring. The situation is stable and fairly tense in some areas,” she said.
Ntshavheni added that several crime scenes had to be attended to in line with established protocols after ammunition, explosives, and hazardous material was discovered.
“SAPS explosive unit determine the safety of officers before officers may conduct search and seizure of such material.
“It caused delays in the transportation of boxes of 500 live ammunition rounds after law enforcement agencies dispersed crowds on 14 July in Mobeni,” she added.
She revealed that two suspects, aged between 16 and 23, were arrested on July 15 after being found with unlicensed firearms and 4000 rounds of ammunition in Mobeni.
They are charged with possession of illegal firearms, rounds of ammunition and possession of stolen property.
The minister stated that 1050 cartridge boxes were found abandoned and 900 boxes of cartridges in Mobeni on July 15.
She also said a number of people were found trying to siphon fuel at a petrol service station in Pinetown.
The hazardous items targeted by looters have proved to be related to seven fatalities at a Makro store in Pietermaritzburg.
Ntshavehni said work on recovery was underway as the law enforcement agencies received tip-offs about those involved in looting.
She said the law enforcement agencies had received instructions, in terms of legal principles, ahead of any search and seizures.
“We are grateful to the majority of law-abiding citizens for the scores of stolen property law enforcement agencies recovering daily.”
Ntshavheni said the NatJoints was urging social media users not to share messages that incite violence and call for certain areas to be shut down.
“Anyone who distributes these messages will face criminal charges of inciting violence.”
A community leader was arrested in the morning in the West Rand for allegedly distributing a voice note calling for public violence in the area yesterday, she said.
Ntshavheni confirmed the reopening of the N2 and N3 highways.
The transportation of key food stuffs, medical supplies and fuel to all parts of the country has commenced.
“The reports of food and fuel shortages will be abated.”
The minister stated that Sanral was repairing the damaged parts of the highway in Mooi River and has removed barriers on the N3.
Ntshavheni said the government engaged with key role players in the economic cluster to find ways to rebuild the economy, factories and reopen businesses to minimise loss of jobs.
“We are working on immediate plans for ensuring economic recovery and restoring the confidence of our people, our industries and our investors.”