Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Arrests, deaths double as isolated looting and vandalism spread beyond Gauteng and KZN

The continued unrest which has gripped parts of South Africa since the weekend has left 72 people dead while more 1 200 have been arrested. The fatalities include Meshack Mahlangu from the Ekurhuleni metro police department in Gauteng, who was killed while responding to violent protests.  

The protests initially started on Friday as a show of anger against the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court, but degenerated into widespread looting initially in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal before spreading to parts of Gauteng

On Monday, in his capacity as commander-in-chief, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist the police in enforcing law and order in areas affected by the unrest. 

In its 24-hour report on Tuesday, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints), which coordinates the country’s security and law enforcement operations, said the number of arrests had risen to 1 234, of which 549 were in KwaZulu-Natal and 683 in Gauteng. 

Those arrested included two on-duty reservist constables in Gauteng who were allegedly found in possession of property stolen during the looting of businesses in Soweto.

Isolated incidents of looting and vandalism spread to the Mpumalanga and Northern Cape provinces on Monday evening. 

“There has been a report from Mpumalanga of an incident of looting and destruction of property in the Matsulu policing precinct with one person in custody,” Natjoints said on Tuesday evening. 

“There has also been a report of two incidents in the Northern Cape, Galeshewe, where one person has been arrested.”

On Wednesday, national police communication officer Major General Mathapelo Peters told the Mail & Guardian that she could not yet confirm whether more such incidents had occurred.

Natjoints said law enforcement officers in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape were patrolling “identified areas of threat to deter possible opportunistic criminality”.

“For now it is quiet,” Northern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Mashay Gamieldien told the M&G.

People rally to prevent looting

All provincial commissioners activated the police’s social crime prevention strategy by having discussions with community-based organisations, traditional leaders and the business community to help prevent looting and acts of vandalism. 

On Tuesday, the member of the executive council for agriculture in Mpumalanga, Mandla Msibi mobilised men to protect the Emoyeni mall from looters. 

Similar incidents have been reported nationwide where community groups and residents have stood with law enforcement to safeguard shopping centres and local retail shops.

Of the 72 people who have lost their lives as a result of the unrest, police are investigating 33 cases of murder.

“The greater part of the inquest dockets — totalling 39 — relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops and malls; while other deaths and injuries were related to ATM explosions and shooting,” Natjoints said in its latest report.

The public has been urged to report incidents of crime on the Crime Stop number 08600 10111.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

The South African Bone Marrow Registry celebrates 30 years of...

‘It’s not drilling into bones!’: Misconceptions keep donors away, says SABMR, but a match outside of a patient’s family is a needle in a haystack

R500-million Covid-19 Gauteng hospital contract was irregularly awarded — SIU

The bank accounts of Pro Service Consulting and Thenga Holdings have been frozen

More top stories

With its industrial base decimated, SA’s economy needs real change...

Speaking at a book launch on Tuesday, the finance minister said a focus on manufacturing is critical to stem the country’s deepening unemployment crisis

Defence team cagey about Zuma’s health after state advised he...

The former president was absent from court, but his counsel argued that health matters be left aside, so as to hear his case for the removal of Billy Downer

The South African Bone Marrow Registry celebrates 30 years of...

‘It’s not drilling into bones!’: Misconceptions keep donors away, says SABMR, but a match outside of a patient’s family is a needle in a haystack

New clean fuel standards could be the end of refineries...

In the absence of mechanisms to recoup investment into cleaner fuels, refineries may be faced with tough decisions
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×