Protests: Barbaric mob attack police, loot, hijack trucks, Mpumalanga

South African Police Service

Protests: Barbaric mob attack police, loot, hijack trucks, Mpumalanga
Protests: Barbaric mob attack police, loot, hijack trucks, Mpumalanga

The Provincial Commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has strongly condemned the incidents of violence and attack on police as well as looting, displayed during protests at various areas of Mpumalanga province.

The latest protests took place on Monday 17 February 2020 and on Tuesday 18 February 2020, at Acornhoek, Fernie as well as in the Nkomazi areas.

According to information at police disposal, on Monday 17 February 2020, protestors in Boschfontein, near Malelana in Nkomazi, were busy trying to attack the Boschfontein Periodical Court. Police were also deployed in the area to monitor the situation and the Station Commander of Schoemansdal, one of police officers tasked to maintain law and order, was attacked by violent mob who were in possession of a chainsaw.

One person from the mob approached the police officer with the chainsaw, that was aimed to cut his abdomen but the officer managed to defend himself. Unfortunately, in the process the Station Commander’s finger was injured. Police have also learned with great concern about malicious and misleading information doing the rounds on social media platforms where people publicly brag about being in possession of the Station Commander’s finger.

The police condemns such a barbaric behaviour in the strongest possible terms. There was also an incident of violence in Langloop today, 18 February 2020, where police officers were heavily attacked with objects and responded by defending themselves where one member of the public was shot and unfortunately died as a result, however the case was handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) for further handling.

Reports were also received of criminality in Fernie, Acornhoek, Bushbuckridge, Langeloop where criminals posed themselves as protesters, attacked a post office and stole computers, burned tyres, threatened to burn public buildings, used firearms to hijack trucks at gunpoint as well as looting groceries together with other items that were ferried on these trucks. Information further indicated that the trucks were used to barricade roads in some of these areas where protests were experienced

“People have a right to protest but it should be done within the ambit of the law. We have taken note of criminal elements that use protests as a shield to commit crime and even directly attack the state by attacking police officers. In some of these incidents, people used firearms to hijack trucks, thereafter instructing drivers to open their trucks before helping themselves with liquor and groceries that were loaded in those trucks. In another protest, the mob violently attacked a post office and stole computers. It is very clear that this is purely lawlessness and criminality where one would begin to pose a question to the organisers of these protests as to, what do they say when they see such criminality taking place under their watch? We strongly condemn these acts of violence where even our police officers are being attacked by the so-called protestors who do not have respect for the laws of this country. I urge the public to take ownership of their infrastructure such as Libraries, Post Offices, Courts, Schools etc. The public should not allow anyone to destroy these facilities in the name of a protest,” said General Zuma.

Three people were arrested in Fernie on Monday 17 February 2020, for public violence and they are expected to appear at the Mayflower Periodical Court tomorrow, Wednesday 19 February 2020. Meanwhile 22 suspects were arrested in Langloop for Damaging of essential infrastructure and Sabotage.

The 22 suspects are expected to appear at the Tonga Magistrate’s Court also on Wednesday 19 February 2020.

South Africa Today – South Africa News

SOURCESouth African Police Service