The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, strongly condemns the acts of criminality that took place in Witbank at the Central Business District (CBD) on 11 September 2019, where several shops owned by foreign nationals were looted, which resulted in the arrest of six suspects, including the alleged mastermind. Several stolen items were recovered.
The incident that was captured on video and has since gone viral, shows several members of the community fleeing from a certain shop with stolen items. The police however moved swiftly and diffused the situation before it escalated due to a contingency plan that was put in place as a control measure to suppress a possible outbreak of similar incidents within the province.
Police stations have been given a strict mandate to conduct intensive visible patrols in all areas but also prioritise and monitor the areas with a large number of foreign owned shops.
The Crime Intelligence Unit has also been roped in to gather information on possible threats, so that members on the ground can be deployed accordingly. There are also engagements taking place at local level between the police and representatives of the foreign owned businesses, furthermore, Sector Managers have also been activated to stay alert at all times. The police in Mpumalanga urge the community not to participate in such criminal acts but report them to the police instead.
The suspects are expected to appear on 13 September 2019, at the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on charges of possession of stolen property, theft as well as assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH). An investigation into their involvement in the looting of foreign owned shops in currently underway.
In light of this incident, General Zuma has warned that such acts of criminality will not be tolerated and further urges people act responsibly and obey the law at all times.
South Africa Today – South Africa News