Following unrest, looting 135 suspects appear in Gauteng courts
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Pretoria - Following a week of unrest and looting, more than 135 suspects have appeared in various courts, across Gauteng, since Wednesday.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the suspects face charges ranging from public violence, theft, housebreaking, the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, to contravention of the Disaster Management Act.
The NPA said it viewed these offences in a serious light.
The suspects were detained in custody for further investigation and their cases were remanded to future dates when they can launch bail proceedings.
In the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, 18 dockets from Jeppe, Cleveland, Sandringham, Hillbrow, Yeoville, Booysens and Johannesburg Central SAPS were placed on the roll.
A total of 111 accused appeared in this court.
In the Germiston Magistrate’s Court, 10 more suspects appeared, following five case dockets issued by the SAPS in that town.
According to the NPA, two of the dockets were not placed on the roll due to insufficient evidence.
Three dockets were enrolled, with five accused facing charges ranging from theft, attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm.
The attempted murder charge relates to an incident where police officers were shot at, while attending to a public violence protest in the vicinity of Germiston.
Meanwhile, 18 accused appeared in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court, following the alleged looting at Pan Africa Mall.
They are facing charges ranging from public violence, to theft and contravention of the Disaster Management Act, and will also remain behind bars for now.
Tembisa Magistrate’s Court had three accused appearing for charges from an incident in which they allegedly stormed a service station in the area, and forcefully took items and cash.
They were charged with public violence and armed robbery.
The case was postponed to next week for further investigations and possible bail applications.
Several more suspects appeared yesterday in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, where their cases were also postponed while they will be held in custody.
“The NPA views all these cases in a serious manner and will continue to prosecute those that seek to undermine the rule of law, and the safety and security of South African citizens,” said advocate Andrew Chauke, from the NPA.
NPA spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga this week said although no special courts had been established to deal with the cases, they would be prioritised.
“The head of the National Prosecution Authority has advised directors of public prosecutions, in affected divisions, to prioritise these matters and to refer the cases to prosecutors with the requisite experience, who must work with and guide police in their investigations,” he said.