File photo. Police portfolio committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
File photo. Police portfolio committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Speed up probe into violence instigators, says Parliament

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

THE police portfolio committee has called for the speedy conclusion of investigations into the 12 individuals identified as alleged instigators of the violence, looting and destruction of property in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

“We are clear that anyone who participated in the instigation of the violence must be investigated, arrested and prosecuted,” committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson said.

“The Constitution in its advocacy for the right to free speech is categorical that this does not extend to incitement of violence.

“It is on this basis that the committee has called for the prosecution of the identified 12, especially within the context of the harm the violence has had and will continue to have on the economy,” Joemat-Pettersson said.

She also said the sharing of information with the police by the community remained a critical pillar of policing and the committee emphasised its calls to the public to continue sharing critical information with the police to ensure successful prosecution.

Joemat-Pettersson made the call as the SAPS said one more suspect was arrested in the West Rand, Gauteng, in the early hours of yesterday.

The suspect is not among of the 12 individuals who have been identified for allegedly being engaged in on-line activities related to the instigation of the public protests.

However, three of the 12 identified individuals have been prioritised by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation with National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) engaged and affidavits obtained.

“The chief magistrate in Durban is on stand-by to issue warrants of arrest should it be necessary. The remaining nine individuals are being profiled and linked to current cases,” SAPS strategic management head Major General Leon Rabie said.

Joemat-Pettersson said the committee welcomed the collaboration between SAPS and the NPA to expedite the prosecution of the cases related to the looting and violence.

She also said they were backing the SANDF deployment to assist the police to stabilise the affected areas and to ensure the return to normalcy.

“The committee has called for the completion of the deployment plan to ensure that there is no further flare up in the two provinces. In line with this, the committee has called on SAPS to expedite the deployment of 2 245 SAPS reservists, as per their plan.”

She said they wanted the enhancement of intelligence-led policing that is essential to anticipate and deter any criminal activity.

Joemat-Pettersson added that they welcomed the plan presented by the police to secure strategic areas and enablers of the economy.

She said SAPS should deal decisively with rotten apples in its ranks who participate in the looting.

Joemat-Pettersson reiterated condemnation of the violence, looting and vandalism of infrastructure saying the already ailing economy would be affected.

“As a result of the violence, the SAPS and SANDF had to reprioritise funding from other cost areas towards the intervention. This will directly affect the ability of the departments to achieve already-planned targets and service delivery.”

The SAPS estimated the cost of the deployment of its officers to quell the protest at R350 million that would be sourced from reprioritisation of its budget.

The deployment of 25 000 soldiers from July 12 to August 12 is estimated to cost R615 665 500.

The police portfolio committee will visit KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng next week to assess the implementation of the plan presented to the committee earlier today.

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