Death toll from civil unrest shoots up to 212
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Johannesburg - Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Friday said the death toll from the violent protests has risen to 212 and arrests to 2554.
Briefing the media, Ntshavheni said there were no new incidents overnight in Gauteng and they remained at 58.
She also said six additional deaths were reported in the province, bringing the total 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,” she said.
Ntshavheni said there were 1488 reported incidents overnight in KwaZulu-Natal.
She also said 89 additional deaths were reported in that province, bringing the number to 180, while the 214 additional arrests brought the total to 1692.
“Law enforcement agencies are closely monitoring. The situation is stable and fairly tense in some areas.”
Ntshavheni also said several crime scenes had to be attended to in line with established protocols after ammunition, explosives and hazardous material were discovered.
“SAPS explosive unit determine the safety of officers before officers may conduct search and seizure of such material.
“It caused delays in transportation of boxes of 500 live ammunition rounds after law enforcement agencies dispersed crowds on 14 July in Mobeni.”
She revealed that two suspects, aged between 16 and 23, were arrested on Thursday after being found with unlicensed firearms and 4000 rounds of ammunition in Mobeni.
They were charged with possession of illegal firearms, rounds of ammunition and stolen property.
The minister stated that 1050 cartridge boxes were found abandoned and 900 boxes of cartridges in Mobeni on Thursday.
She also said a number of people were found trying to siphon fuel at a petrol station in Pinetown.
The hazardous items targeted by looters have been linked to seven fatalities at Makro store in Pietermaritzburg.
Ntshavehni said work on recovery was under way as the law enforcement agencies received tip-offs about those involved in looting.
She said the law enforcement agencies have 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 National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure 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 this morning in the West Rand for allegedly distributing a voice note calling for public violence in the area yesterday, she said.
Ntshavheni also 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 had removed barriers on the N3.
Ntshavheni said the government has engaged key role players in the economic cluster to find ways to rebuild the economy, factories and re-open 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.”