The South African Police Service (SAPS) has warned community members to desist from buying goods looted from businesses during the rioting last week, as possession of these items would land the buyers in jail.
“A warning has 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,” said SAPS national head of communication, Major General Mathapelo Peters.
She said wide-scale law enforcement operations are under way to track down people who have the stolen goods in their homes.
“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.
“Amongst the goods recovered were bed mattresses; television sets; couches; fridges, sound systems; computer screens and laptops; steel frames; grocery, and clothing items,” said Peters.
“Meanwhile in KwaZulu-Natal 92 suspects have been arrested over the weekend for being in possession of stolen property.”
Meanwhile, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) co-chaired by the South African National Defence Force, the SAPS and the State Security Agency (SSA), has welcomed the influx of calls and tip-offs received from various communities in both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which have also helped in the recovering of the looted goods.
Peters said by Sunday 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.
At least 1 122 of the arrested people are expected to appear in different courts in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal courts, while the remaining dockets are under investigation.
The NatJOINTS has reiterated calls for community members 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”.
“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,” said Peters.
The duo was on Monday expected to appear 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,” said Peters.