Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Six ‘instigators’ arrested as ‘insurrection’ investigation in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng gains momentum

Six of the alleged instigators of the looting and acts of sabotage in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been arrested, among them former radio personality Ngizwe Mchunu, who handed himself over to police on Monday.

This comes as security forces continue to brace for an anticipated spate of attacks on police stations and weapons depots by supporters of former president Jacob Zuma as part of a second wave of violence.

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told a media briefing on Monday that three of the people arrested had been remanded in custody and would make bail applications later this week.

Describing the attacks last week as “an attempt at an insurrection”’ Ntshavenhi said  investigators were expected to make further arrests of individuals involved in planning the “orchestrated plan to undermine us” in coming days.

She said the death toll from the wave of riots and arson attacks now stood at 215, with three more people killed in KwaZulu-Natal since Friday. No new incidents of looting had taken place in the province, which was now “stable”’.

Mchunu was arrested by police after he handed himself over in Durban. Mchunu had been vocal in calling on Zuma’s supporters to take to the streets in protest against the jailing of Zuma, along with a network of social media influencers and minor media personalities in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Former Durban mayor Zandile Gumede, a key supporter of Zuma, on Monday laid a charge at the Inanda police station over a number of voice notes and messages on social media linking her to the devastating violence and arson attacks around the city.

In a television interview, Gumede said she had approached police to clear her name because she was “angry” about the social media material, which made claims she said were false. Gumede said she had not been arrested by the police and did not face any charges.

Asked whether Gumede was among the 12 people believed to have been behind the riots, Ntshavheni said she was not aware of who the suspects were.

“Law enforcement agencies have not shared with us who the possible suspects are. They only share with us the names of those who have been arrested and brief us on court appearances,” she said.

Ntshavhen said the N2 and N3 highways were now open after the violence and that security forces were protecting truck convoys bringing food and medicine into KwaZulu-Natal.

Both the Richards Bay and Durban harbours were now operating, while citrus and other cold chain products were being processed and loaded for export, she added.

Subscribe to the M&G

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.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


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


Subscribers only

R350 relief grant will be paid into bank accounts or...

There are concerns that post office branch closures will make it difficult for beneficiaries to access the grant

South Africa at risk of spillover from international inflation, economists...

Higher international oil prices, for example, could affect local transport costs through second-round effects

More top stories

Companies affected by unrest can apply for support as soon...

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi urges employers to be honest when applying for help

Mboweni extends R38bn to cope with double calamity of Covid-19...

The finance minister extended the Ters relief and the social distress relief grant, and also ensured businesses hit by looting can access insurance

South Africa appalled that Israel given AU observer status

The international relations department has released a statement condemning the decision

Coal on a drive to delay its demise

The just transition that is currently being executed is a balance between energy security and climate change, according to one analyst

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…