By Jonk wa Mashamba
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) co-chaired by the SANDF, SAPS and the SSA, has welcomed the influx of calls and tip-offs received via the ‘MySAPS App’ from various communities.
The tip-offs are from both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which have seen the integrated security forces recover volumes of suspected stolen property whose value is yet to be determined.
According to Major General Mathapelo Peters by yesterday morning, a total of 3 407 suspects had been arrested on various charges since the violence erupted over a week ago, with only one suspect granted bail.
Peters said 1 122 expected to appear in different courts in the two most affected provinces, and the remaining dockets under investigation.
“In the concerted response by the NatJOINTS to the recent acts of unrest and opportunistic criminality, 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, giving tip-offs to the police, and some cleaning up their streets and business premises that were affected by the looting in the past week.
“A warning has also been issued to those who were not part of the looting spree, but are buying stolen property from the looters that they, too, will be arrested for being in possession of stolen property.
“In Gauteng during integrated operations at a number of hostels in mostly Tembisa, Johannesburg, Alexandra and Moroka over the weekend, 14 suspects were arrested for being in possession of suspected looted property,” said Peters.
Peters indicated that amongst the goods recovered were bed mattresses; television sets; couches; fridges, sound systems; computer screens and laptops; steel frames; grocery, and clothing items.
“Meanwhile, in KwaZulu-Natal 92 suspects have been arrested over the weekend for being in possession of stolen property.
“The NatJOINTS has at the same time also reiterated the call for people to refrain from inciting violence by creating and circulating inflammatory messages that seek to do nothing but elevate the levels of tension, confusion and fear amongst communities. These messages instill fear in our communities and undermine the authority of the State.
“To this end, police in the West Rand District in Gauteng arrested two suspects, one on Thursday evening 15 July 2021 in Roodepoort and the second suspect on Friday, 16 July 2021 in Westonaria, both on allegations of creating and circulating inflammatory messages with the potential of inciting violence.
“They are expected to appear on Monday 20 July 2021 before the Randfontein and Westonaria Courts respectively. A third suspect, a 21-year old woman was arrested in Duduza in Ekurhuleni District on Saturday 17 July 2021 on similar allegations. She is expected to appear before the Nigel Magistrate Court on Tuesday 21 July 2021.”
The JOINTS through its Intelligence Coordinating Community (ICC) is said to be also aware of more messages cropping up and circulating on various social media platforms, which threat to attack police stations and disarm law enforcement officers; attack courts of law and key infrastructure such as fuel pipelines and refineries; and more looting.
“The JOINTS have subsequently mobilized maximum resources to address these threats and heighten visibility. Measures have also been put in place to ensure stability, and the protection and safety of those who are not involved in the unrest and wish to go on with their daily routine.
“Members of the public should continue to report criminality to the police, which may be done anonymously by calling the crime stop number 08600 10111 or via the MySAPS app that can be downloaded onto any smartphone,” Peters said.