Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned that KwaZulu-Natal was not out of the woods yet from new disruptions
DURBAN – POLICE Minister Bheki Cele has warned that the province was not out of the woods yet from new disruptions.
The minister told the Daily News on Monday that he feared if former president Jacob Zuma was allowed to attend his corruption case physically, the devastating violent protests would erupt again.
Cele visited a number of businesses and shopping complexes around Durban and Pietermaritzburg, where he assessed law enforcement efforts in recovering looted goods, while also ensuring law, order and peace.
“We are happy with the progress so far, as things slowly return to normal, but we are not out of the woods yet because it all now depends on the outcome of the former president’s application to attend his corruption case physically. We believe if he is allowed to be physically in court, violence may come back,” said Cele.
Cele also went on a walkabout in the Mansel Road Market, where many looted items were recovered.
“We filled two trucks during today’s search operation in the Durban CBD. Most items stolen were appliances, such as fridges, television sets and stoves, with grocery items,” he said.
he recovered stolen goods were kept by the SAPS in their SP13 storage units, used by police to retain stolen goods. Most of SP13s are now at full capacity and we are trying to get a warehouse that will be used as an SP13,” said Cele.
He said about 1 000 looters appeared in special courts on Monday, across the country.
“As of today, 3 400 people have been arrested for taking part in the looting spree in Gauteng and KZN,” Cele said.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints, co-chaired by the SANDF, SAPS and the Social Security Agency, received numerous tips through the MySAPS app, in Gauteng and KZN, which led to arrests.
At the weekend, 92 suspects were arrested in KZN for being in possession of stolen property and 14 were arrested in Gauteng hostels in Alexandra, Moroka, Tembisa, and Johannesburg.
“Among the goods recovered were mattresses, television sets, couches, fridges, sound systems, computer screens and laptops, steel frames, groceries and clothing items,” said Cele.
He encouraged communities to continue working with the police by reporting stolen items, and to refrain from purchasing stolen items.
“We would like to thank the members of the society who informed us about where we can locate stolen items. People must be well aware that padlocks on their doors will not help keep the police away,” Cele said.
NatJoints said they were aware of social media messages inciting violence and threatening to disarm police and attack police stations, and resources were mobilised to address these. Measures were in place to ensure stability, and the protection and safety of those not involved in the unrest.