A suspected instigator behind the “economic sabotage” has been arrested while 11 others are under surveillance following days of unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, which have claimed the lives of 117 people.
Cape Town – A suspected instigator behind the “economic sabotage” has been arrested while 11 others are under surveillance following days of unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, which have claimed the lives of 117 people.
While officials have yet to release the identity of the suspect, in a recent briefing, Police Minister Bheki Cele said law enforcement agencies had a list of 12 South Africans who had been implicated in fuelling the violence.
He said this included Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, daughter of jailed Jacob Zuma.
Addressing the media on Thursday, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni avoided answering further questions on the topic and would not give details of the arrested suspect.
Ntshavheni also reported that an inquest had been opened after six bodies were found in the roof of the Mall of Thembisa.
She said that an investigation was still under way to determine whether these bodies were linked to the violence.
Ntshavheni reported that 26 deaths had been reported in Gauteng, while the death toll had risen to 91 in KZN. She said the situation in KZN remained volatile.
The violence has seen more than 2000 people arrested – 725 in Gauteng and 1478 in KZN.
While the damages have yet to be quantified, Ntshavheni said that food supplies had been secured at the ports and in warehouses and guarded by members of the SANDF.
She said the government had categorised the unrest as economic sabotage and not protests.
While some sections of N3 and N2 had remained blocked, Ntshavheni people should not panic about a shortage of food.
She denied rumours that food supplies would run out in the next 24 hours, saying that food stocks were sufficient and as soon as the roads opened, the trucks would transport the goods.
She added that the SANDF was also escorting fuel tankers and standing guard at national key points.
Attempts by a group of residents in Vrygrond, near Muizenberg, to loot a Somalian shop and Pick n Pay failed on Wednesday night.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said about 70 people took to the streets showing their unhappiness with poor service delivery.
“They burned tyres in the roads and blockaded entrances with rocks. Integrated forces were dispatched to the area to maintain law and order. We confirm that no one sustained any injuries. The area is quiet and the situation is under control,” said Swartbooi.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has appealed to the government to urgently provide effective protection to its retail, manufacturing and services sector members, and to provide for the safe passage of delivery vehicles and employees to areas affected by looting.
“Noting the welcome reduction in looting incidents over the past 24 hours, CGCSA remains concerned that the situation remains far from stable. As CGCSA members are assessing the losses and damage caused, they are also rebuilding capacity to resume serving customers as soon as possible.
“The CGCSA members are united in their determination to do everything they can to restore the supply of food, essential groceries and general merchandise and meet the emerging humanitarian need,” the organisation said.