189 arrested for public violence, malicious damage to property

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has increased the deployment of members to cover all the areas identified as hotspots of violence, where shops have been looted and property set alight.

A total of 189 arrests have been effected since Sunday for criminal acts including public violence, malicious damage to property and theft. Five murders have also been reported, two in Coronationville, two in Hillbrow and one near the hostel at Jeppe, the police said in a statement on Tuesday.

While the situation has been stabilised in parts of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg Central, Jeppe and the Cleveland policing areas, police responded in the early hours of this morning to incidents in Germiston and Alexandra where 40 people were arrested.

The number of arrests in Cleveland has risen to 66 suspects.

In Thokoza and Kempton Park, police fired rubber bullets to disperse a group of people who were suspected of having plans to loot businesses.

According to police, criminals gangs, who have taken advantage of the chaotic situation due to the outbreak of violence in the past few days, have been breaking into businesses in general and not only those of foreign nationals.

Except cases of public violence, malicious damage to property and theft, there will be more focus on the investigation of business breakings and theft, the police said.

Police are also identifying the leaders of these violent groups and will be making arrests once all the evidence is gathered.

The threats of violence that have been making the rounds in Tshwane, including Marabastad and Sunnyside, have not materialised as more police have been despatched to these areas. No violence has also been reported in Johannesburg and areas of Ekurhuleni, said the police.

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, thanked those members of the public who are coming forward with information to assist the police in dealing with the violent situations.

He also assured members of the public that no unlawful activities will be tolerated. All our members are on the ground to deal with criminality, the Commissioner said.

Source: South African Government News Agency