Joburg politician's WhatsApp messages used to finger him for instigating mall attacks
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A senior politician in Joburg is due to appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Monday for allegedly instigating the attacks on malls on the West Rand.
The politician - who is linked to one of the political parties represented in the City of Joburg - made the call to his supporters and members of the ANC Youth League and Women’s League apparently on WhatsApp urging the two ANC affiliated component structures to join him and his supporters to attack on malls in Roodepoort, Krugersdorp, Randfontein and businesses in the neighbouring suburbs.
He also urged his supporters to block all main roads in Main Reef and lodged attacks on trucks delivering goods to various premises in the West Rand towns.
Videos led to some of the residents in the suburbs west of Joburg and West Rand region making frantic calls to their residential security companies and neighbourhood watches to join in the search of the suspect before him and his cohorts pounced on them.
Urging his supporters to be vigilant, the alleged instigator said: “Communities of the West Rand are much stronger but we are much more. Do not attack schools, do not attack healthcare facilities but malls you can do whatever you want. Do not attack any person except for those who are trying to stop you.”
In a bid to protect its residents, Farhaad Sardiwala, deputy chairperson of the Florida Community Police Forum (CPF) sent the audio video to the police and their crime intelligence. At the time of the circulation of the video things had returned to normal in Roodepoort following running battles between the police, security officers and the looters on Tuesday. The robbers had attempted to loot one of the bottle stores of a warehouse and retail shop in the Roodepoort CBD.
On Friday, however, West Rand residents were relieved following the arrest of the instigator in the early hours of the morning.
His arrest followed after the police got hold of the voice clip and tasked all sources and contacts to establish the origin of it.
The suspect was arrested and police recovered three cellphones in his possession which forms part of their investigation. According to the police, the suspect confessed his involvement in the production of the video.
He is detained in the Randfontein Police Station holding cells and is expected to face a charge of inciting public violence in court on Monday.
Brigadier Masolle Manamela - station commissioner of the Randfontein Police Station - confirmed the arrest of the suspect and he thanked the West Rand residents for the tip-off.
“Thanks for your support. Business must operate as normal. The police are continually monitoring the situation.
“It is sad that the suspect stays within the Randfontein police precinct,” Brigadier Manamela said.