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Cops hot on heels of suspects after 12 people behind torching of trucks identified – Cele

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Police Minister Bheki Cele said they have roped in the South African National Defence Force to prevent further attacks after more than 20 trucks were torched.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele. Picture: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

POLICE Minister Bheki Cele says they have identified 12 people who are behind the torching of the trucks in the country.

Cele said these were co-ordinated attacks organised by the group.

He said the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (Nicoc) met on Tuesday to deal with the matter.

Cele ruled out the possibility that the torching of the trucks could be linked to the July 2021 unrest.

He said the police and intelligence agencies have done a lot of work since 2021 and implemented the recommendations of Professor Sandy Africa’s report.

Africa was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa after the unrest two years ago, and in her report she found a lack of co-ordination in intelligence structures.

Cele said that to date 21 trucks have been set alight in Limpopo. KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

“Intelligence suggests that attacks on trucks may be business related and we know that these are not just random acts of criminality. Evidence before us points to organised, co-ordinated and sophisticated operations that seek to undermine and sabotage the state. We are encouraged that 12 persons of interest have been identified through investigations and intelligence collection,” said Cele.

He added that they have heightened security on major routes across the country.

They have also roped in the South African National Defence Force to help in preventing further attacks.

The police minister said the army would be deployed in areas where more attacks are possible.

Cele noted that they have learned their lessons from the July 2021 unrest and are implementing the Africa report.

“The high-level panel report by Prof Sandy Africa did find several things. One of those things was an unco-ordinated work of intelligence. That is why one makes that point to say we have definitely improved on that. No doubt about it. Even yesterday, Nicoc has been meeting on this one. That is why we can say there will be no repeat of July 2021,” said Cele.

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