People flee from police as they carry goods while looting and vandalising the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, East of Johannesburg.
- Thanks in part to tip-offs from communities, 3 407 people have now been arrested following the looting in KZN and Gauteng.
- The security agencies are concerned about social media messages threatening attacks against the police, courts and fuel pipelines.
- “Maximum resources” have been mobilised to address these threats and heighten visibility.
A total of 3 407 people have now been arrested on various charges since violence and looting erupted in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over a week ago, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) said in a statement on Sunday evening.
It includes three people who allegedly created and sent inflammatory messages with the potential of inciting violence. Two were arrested in Roodepoort and Westonaria respectively, while a 21-year old woman was arrested in Duduza, Ekurhuleni, over the weekend.
Natjoints says that it is aware of messages on social media platforms, which contain threats to attack police stations, disarm law enforcement officers, and attack courts, fuel pipelines and refineries.
“Maximum resources” have been mobilised to address these threats and heighten visibility.
No updated death toll was provided, with the latest figures – published on Friday – stating that a total of 212 people had been killed.
Only one individual, of the more than 3 400 who have been arrested, was granted bail, with 1 122 expected to appear in different courts in the two most affected provinces.
Over the weekend, 92 people were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal for being in possession of stolen property. Fourteen, in possession of suspected looted property, were arrested at hostels in Tembisa, Johannesburg, Alexandra and Moroka in Gauteng.
Among the goods recovered were mattresses, televisions, couches, fridges, groceries and laptops.
The structure, which represents the South African Police Service (SAPS), the State Security Agency (SSA) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), reports that an “influx” of calls and tip-offs were received via the MySAPS app from communities in both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“(Where) tensions now appear to be simmering down, security forces have embarked on recovery operations, with the collaboration of citizens who have gone out of their way to give tip-offs to the police, and some are cleaning up their streets and business premises that were affected by the looting in the past week.”
It also warned that those buying stolen property from looters would be arrested for being in possession of such items.