Rioters wanted to burn a Durban hospital full of patients, says Bheki Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jul 14, 2021


Pretoria – Police Minister Bheki Cele said intelligence information gathered in advance by South African law-enforcement agencies averted the burning of a hospital full of patients in Durban as the violence and destruction of property continues.

“A lot (of destruction) has happened, but unfortunately we do not talk about that which has not happened. Indeed, the information has been used. I believe though that your clan, the media, doesn’t want to believe there is something that has been saved,” Cele told journalists in Mamelodi.

“For instance in KZN (KwaZulu-Natal) yesterday (on Tuesday), they were planning to burn the hospital. Literally planning to burn the hospital with patients inside. That was averted. They were planning to burn the legislature and things like those in KZN.”

Intelligence services, including the Crime Intelligence Unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS), have come under severe criticism for failing to pick information in advance on the widespread unrest, vandalism and looting which has so far left almost 100 people dead.

“Indeed, we get laughed at, that things and scenarios you see here could not have happened. They have happened. That is why now we are pushing the gear of prevention, that where we are, we don’t go beyond, in terms of destruction,” said Cele.

More than 70 people have died in the ongoing unrest taking place mainly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Protests pressing for Zuma’s release turned violent at the weekend, with shops looted and in some cases burnt in KZN and Gauteng.

The Constitutional Court sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail after he defied a court order to appear before the Zondo Commission probing allegations of state capture during his term in office.

The government has since deployed soldiers to help the police quell the violence.

African News Agency (ANA)