UPL has engaged a former public prosecutor to assist the South African Police Service to bring the criminals behind the arson attack on its leased Cornubia warehouse to book.Picture: Tumi Pakkies/ANA
UPL has engaged a former public prosecutor to assist the South African Police Service to bring the criminals behind the arson attack on its leased Cornubia warehouse to book.Picture: Tumi Pakkies/ANA

UPL SA hires former public prosecutor to help track down Cornubia warehouse looters

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Nov 16, 2021

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Durban - UPL South Africa (Pty) Ltd has acquired the services of a former public prosecutor to help police track down those responsible for the arson attack and looting at its Cornubia warehouse.

Japhet Ncube, the spokesperson for UPL South Africa, said to date, no arrests have been made in the attack which, is part of the widespread criminality and violence that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng in mid-July this year.

He said they had been committed to doing everything possible to deal with the fallout of this unprecedented and unpredictable attack.

"This has included spending over R267 million so far to deal with the chemical spill that resulted from the warehouse being deliberately set on fire. We are pleased that this clean-up operation, which saw 130 people working around the clock over the past few months, has successfully contained the spill, with eThekwini municipality reopening the beaches earlier this month," he said.

Ncube said UPL had provided statements and evidence to investigating officers in relation to the attack. UPL has also handed over CCTV footage showing looters breaking into the warehouse premises, stealing various items from the buildings and also what appears to be looters collecting material that may have been used by them to set the property alight.

The UPL Chemical factory that burnt down and contaminating the air, water and soil in the surrounding areas such as Umhlanga, Cornubia, Durban North and Blackburn informal settlement. Picture:Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

He said many of the people in the footage were not wearing masks and are therefore easily identifiable, and so, it hopes that this evidence will assist the SAPS with their investigations and lead to arrests.

"With very few perpetrators who had participated in the widespread looting and violence in July having been convicted to date, UPL will continue to assist the SAPS where it can, so the criminals responsible for the warehouse attack, and the subsequent spill caused by the unrest, face the full might of the law," Ncube said.

He added that UPL would also carry on working closely with all government authorities, civil society and communities on its remediation and rehabilitation programmes in the affected areas, and it will continue providing local farmers with the vital inputs that they require to contribute to the country’s overall food security.

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