The Provincial Commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has strongly condemned violent protests that occurred at eMbalenhle between Tuesday 11 February 2020 and Wednesday 12 February 2020. In the same breath, the General has also welcomed the arrest of 29 suspects in connection with the violence.
“When police were conducting their operation as per duty bound to maintain peace, they were shot at, and defended themselves. The member that was shot at, was driving a police (marked) car and the car was firstly stoned by the protesters before he was shot.
Earlier in the morning six (6) trucks were hijacked and these trucks were used to blockade the exits and entrances at Embalenhle. What worries us is that one of the trucks was carrying chemicals and there are specific instructions on how to handle such trucks. If not handled accordingly, we could be dealing with a disastrous situation.
South Africa is a country that is governed by laws and people cannot do as they wish. Our country is not a country where people unashamedly parade their lawlessness and inhuman behaviour. We cannot allow this situation of anarchy to continue unabated. People are allowed to protest within the ambit of the law. No one is allowed to break the law despite unresolved matters that one faces. People must try to make use of proper channels to resolve their issues rather than perpetuate violence to get what they want,” said General Zuma.
According to reports, police were supposed to conduct cordon and search operations at Embalenhle Taxi Rank, spiralling from alleged gunshots that were blazing the previous day. Police were deterred from carrying out their duties by Taxi Operators and whilst still grappling with that situation, trying to find out why were they stopping them from doing their work, one policeman was shot and injured. That led police to defend themselves. During the shootout, there were three casualties which occurred and how these people died will be determined through the investigation that is underway, conducted by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
There are 29 people that were arrested in connection with cases of attempted murder of a policeman, public violence and malicious damage to property of the state (police vehicle) and these suspects are expected to appear in the Evander Magistrate’s Court on Friday 14 February 2020.
The arrest of the suspects was as a result of this commotion that resulted in the police going to conduct cordon and search at the Taxi Rank.
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