By Jonk wa Mashamba
SAPS in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal said they were working closely with their respective local Metro Police departments.
According to Major General Mathapelo Peters, the police have heightened visibility and remained on high alert in response to incidents of opportunistic criminality and violent protests in the two provinces over the weekend.
Peters said Gauteng police, working closely with the JMPD last night, have responded swiftly to sporadic incidents of looting of businesses and barricading of roads in Jeppe and Alexandra, and arrested 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. 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 about group of people from Alexandra, who targeted and forced entry into businesses, and started looting, Peters said.
“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,” said Peters.
Peters said an investigation was underway to determine the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of a 40-year old man who was certified dead at a local clinic in Alexandra.
Meanwhile, in KZN where incidents of violent protests started on Friday, the number of arrests has increased to 37 thus far.
“Police working closely with Metro Police have overnight, been able to disperse crowds and foil attempts to barricade roads. No further looting has been reported.
“The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) is working around the clock to enhance the operational capacity provincial level in response to incidents in which people appear to be undermining the authority of the State, including the flouting of the DMA Regulations.
“A warning is issued to those circulating inflammatory messages, inciting violence and lawlessness, that they refrain from doing so.
“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,” said Peters.
When our team arrived in Alexandra central business district around 5 am, many foreign-owned stores were looted, vandalized and some burned.
SABC news team was also robbed again while covering the news.