Monday, 12 July 2021

Pretoria: The NatJOINTS has intensified deployments in all Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal areas affected by the violent protests that have seen properties damaged and looted over the weekend.

On Monday, the NatJOINTS [National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure] in a statement said it is receiving intelligence support from its Intelligence Coordinating Committee, which will assist in responding to the sporadic protests.

The committee comprises SAPS Crime Intelligence, Defence Intelligence, as well as State Security Intelligence.

NatJOINTS spokesperson, Colonel Brenda Muridili, said Gauteng police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four people since the break out of violent protests.

“On Sunday morning, the police responded to a call from Alexandra Clinic, where they found a body with gunshot wounds. Later that day, the body of a security guard with assault wounds was found at Jeppestown.

“The third body was discovered also on Sunday in the evening in Dobsonville, while the fourth body was discovered with gunshot wounds in Germiston. The cause of death for the security guard and as well as the body found in Dobsonville is part of investigations,” she said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, there were reports of two people who have been killed in Inanda and Umbilo.

The circumstances leading to their deaths is under investigation, said Muridili.

The extent of damage to property and the looting of businesses will be determined at a later stage.

NatJOINTS said it is working around the clock to enhance operational capacity at provincial level in response to incidents in which people appear to be undermining the authority of the State, including the flouting of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) Regulations.

They issued a warning to those circulating inflammatory messages, inciting violence and lawlessness.

“The possibility of criminal charges being instituted against such persons cannot be ruled out, particularly in the event of injury or death that may come as a result of any operational response by the security forces to these incidents of violence and opportunistic criminality,” NatJOINTS said.

On Sunday, 62 suspects were arrested as police continued to respond to opportunistic criminality emanating from violent protests over the weekend in the two provinces.

Police said they are working closely with their respective local Metro Police Departments in Gauteng and in KZN in order to heighten visibility and remain on high alert in response to incidents.

SAPS and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department on Saturday night responded swiftly to sporadic incidents of looting of businesses and barricading of roads in Jeppe and Alexandra, arresting 25 suspects.

“In the Jeppe policing precinct, police dispersed a group of about 300 people who had barricaded the M2 freeway. It is alleged that one group then headed to the Jeppestown where they looted a number of businesses. Seven suspects were arrested, four of whom were found inside one of the stores, while three were arrested for public violence and for being in possession of suspected stolen property.

“In Alexandra, police arrested 18 suspects – 16 of them for public violence also linked to the shooting of a police officer who was rushed to hospital for urgent medical attention. Two other police officers sustained minor injuries,” said the police.

The other two suspects were arrested for possession of suspected stolen property and malicious damage to property. This came as police responded to information of a group of people from Alexandra who targeted and forced entry into businesses, and started looting.

This group of about 800 people is reported to have attacked police, resulting in the shooting of police officers who have now received medical attention, with only one in hospital in a stable condition.

Police also dispersed a group in Bramley, near Alexandra.

In the meantime, an investigation is underway to determine the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of a 40-year old man who was certified dead at a local clinic.

In KZN, where incidents of violent protests started on Friday, the number of arrests had increased to 37 by Sunday.