By Kaya 959 Reporter
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating 87 incidents involving police action during last month’s unrest in parts of the country.
Addressing the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the bulk of the cases were in KwaZulu-Natal – 74 while Gauteng reported 13 incidents.
Cele confirmed that the death toll from the unrest is now at 359.
Taking stock of the unrest, Cele said 161 malls, 11 warehouses, eight factories, 161 liquor outlets or distributors were extensively damaged while over 200 shopping centres were looted and destroyed.
“Looting also took place in about 300 shops in KZN and Gauteng, damaging over 1 400 ATMs. The wanton destruction resulted in 300 banks and post office branches being vandalised while 113 communication infrastructure was also significantly damaged as well as 1 119 retail stores were impacted and damaged.
“To date, a total of 16 instigators have been identified and arrested and are going through the court processes,” he said.
In light of the unrest, Cele said SAPS worked to mitigate the shortcomings by including a shift system in Gauteng and KZN.
He said this was later extended to the Mpumalanga, North West Provinces and Free State Provinces, where officers remained on high alert.
Cele said there were additional deployments at major transport routes such as the N1, N2 and N3 in KZN at hotspots, truck stops/depots, roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints.
“National Key Points were also safeguarded, including petrol and chemical industries, electricity and water sources. Police were also stationed to guard the country’s communication and banking sector, as well as the pharmaceutical sector. Safe-guarding of air transport, chemical, fuel and oxygen Industries as well as government complexes and research centers also ensued,” he said.
A Special Investigation Team, composed of detectives from the National and provincial office, has been deployed to KZN to look into the deaths of 36 people killed in Phoenix.