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Situation remains calm in city

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Neighbourhood watch groups have expressed their gratitude to Kimberley residents, who showed overwhelming support throughout a difficult time when the city was in a state of panic.

Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE NATIONAL Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) indicated on Thursday that only two incidents of looting were recorded in the Northern Cape, both in Galeshewe, while one person has been arrested.

The situation remains calm in Kimberley following the deployment of SANDF members and after leave and rest days were cancelled for police officials.

This followed panic by residents and businesses who feared the possibility of widespread looting and vandalism in the city.

Picture: Danie van der Lith

NatJOINTS spokesperson Major-General Mathapelo Peters said that nationally the number of arrests stood at 1,234, while the number of fatalities is now at 72.

In an apparent attempt to join the looting and vandalism, a meeting under the banner of “Kimberley Shutdown Meeting” was called at the Galeshewe circle on Monday evening.

However, community volunteers and members of the police stopped all attempts by small groups of youngsters to cause havoc and loot the Galeshewe Plaza. Several businesses also decided to close early as a precaution following the announcement of the meeting.

Northern Cape residents condemned the acts of violence and vowed to protect the Province and assist the police in guarding and patrolling areas and communicating through social media.

Picture: Danie van der Lith

While NatJOINTS said on Thursday that two incidents of looting were recorded in Galeshewe and one person had been arrested, Galeshewe residents wanted to know what happened to several other suspects who were apparently arrested in connection with looting and vandalism.

According to sources linked to community watch groups, a number of arrests were made during at least four incidents in Galeshewe and Homelite since Monday night.

In some of the incidents, alcohol and groceries were reportedly confiscated from some of the suspects.

Neighbourhood watch groups joined the police in patrolling and guarding local businesses and crime hot-spots prior to the deployment of the SANDF.

The areas that have been affected by looting since Sunday are Kagisho, John Daka, Soul City, Club 2000, Phutanang and Homelite – where bottle stores, tuck shops and supermarkets were targeted.

Neighbourhood watch groups expressed their gratitude to Kimberley and its community, which showed overwhelming support throughout a difficult time when the city was in a state of panic.

They promised to intensify security during the weekend, utilising the more than 60 WhatsApp groups that were established in various suburbs throughout the city.

Tumelo Mosikare, from Galeshewe, said they will cover all 110 suburbs in Kimberley, where neighbourhood watch members will be stationed and on patrol.

He indicated that several WhatsApp groups helped in opening the channels of communication by giving the police information on where they are needed.

Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul has meanwhile condemned the acts of public violence and lawlessness that were seen in parts of the country over the past few days.

He said the acts are on a level never seen before in the history of democracy.

“The criminal acts of looting of businesses and large-scale damage to property have resulted in losses to business and even the loss of precious and innocent lives.

“Many individuals, communities and businesses have lost everything they own and face irreparable damage.

“As citizens, we all have a responsibility to value human life and ensure that we engage each other on principles of respect, honesty and human dignity,” said Saul.

“Active, responsible and ethical citizens are the bedrock of any democracy and will ensure that we build the South Africa we want.

“It is therefore heart-warming and we commend the collective and decisive refusal of communities in our Province to engage in looting, violence and criminal activities in any form.

“Their subsequent action of joining hands with community police forums, neighbourhood watch groups and the police has resulted in the prevention of violence and the protection of our infrastructure.

“This has been done through night watches and the creation of localised communication networks to identify and report possible outbreaks.

“This active citizenry and patriotism sets a good example.”

Saul also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to every community member, community volunteer, business owner, taxi association and others who have stepped forward to ensure that no form of looting or criminal activity of any form will be tolerated.

He referred to them as patriotic and peace-loving citizens . . . who united in support in order for law and order to prevail.

He urged civil organisations to continue to act within the confines of the law and at no stage should they take the law into their own hands.

“The police have taken a firm and proactive stance in monitoring and preventing the possible outbreak of looting and violence,” said Saul.

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