By Kaya 959 News
Sixty-two people have been arrested following ongoing riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng over the weekend.
What initially began as #FreeZuma protests descended into chaos with shops and businesses in both provinces looted.
National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) Colonel Brenda Muridili, said there has also been heightened police visibility in these areas.
She said 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 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,” Muridili said.
Officers sustain injuries
Police arrested 18 suspects in Alexandria – 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 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 said.
Police also dispersed a group in Bramley, near Alexandra.
Muridili said 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.
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.
There were also reports of sporadic protests in Marrianhill and other areas.
“NatJOINTS 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 DMA Regulations,” Muridili said.
She added that a warning has been issued 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,” she said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on communities in KwaZulu-Natal to desist from undermining the rule of law and inflicting damage on the economy.
President Ramaphosa says the impact of public violence against the road freight industry and damage to freeways that serve as economic arteries will be felt also by the people organising and committing these crimes.