Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says all hands are on deck to restore normalcy in violence-struck areas in KwaZulu-National and Gauteng, with the major economic corridors and routes used to transport supplies from KZN having reopened.
The Minister on Friday afternoon confirmed that both the N2 and N3 highways have reopened.
“The transportation of key food stuffs, medical supplies and fuel to all parts of the country has commenced and therefore, the report of food shortages and fuel will abate.
“SANRAL [South African National Roads Agency] is repairing the damaged part of the highway in Mooi River and has removed barriers on the stretch of the N3, but the traffic is flowing along the N3,” Ntshavheni said.
The Minister said while the situation remains tense in some areas, normalcy is gradually returning in others, with Gauteng having no new incident reports overnight on Thursday.
Government has also engaged key role players in the Economic Cluster to find ways of rebuilding the economy, including the factories that have been damaged, reopening businesses and minimising the loss of jobs.
“We are working on the immediate plan for ensuring economic recovery and restoring the confidence of our people, our industries and our investors.
“The Department of Trade and Industry and Competition has set up an email address — [email protected] — where companies can report potential imminent and actual looting taking place in their areas or establishments, so that it can be rerouted to the NATJOINTS [National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure] as soon as possible,” the Minister said.
Close eye on hotspots
Ntshavheni said while no new incidents were reported in Gauteng overnight, the number of incidents remained at 58 since the violence started.
“An additional six deaths were reported, and the cumulative deaths now stand at 32 in Gauteng. An additional 137 arrests were made, and the cumulative arrests are now 862 in Gauteng.
“The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployment, supporting the SAPS [South African Police Service] and Metro Police, remains in Gauteng at the potential hotspots.
“There are deployments across the country because we don’t want to find people, who have been instigating the violence, taking advantage of the other provinces,” Ntshavheni said.
Over 1 000 cases reported in KZN
In KwaZulu-Natal, the Minister said over 1 488 cases were reported in the province overnight, with nine additional deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 180.
“An additional 214 arrests were made, which brings the cumulative arrests to 1 692. Law enforcement agencies continue to closely monitor the situation in that province, which is stable but fairly tense in some areas.
“Furthermore, community structures in the identified areas have been meeting with SAPS officials on a daily basis to assess the situation and go through plans for the day to protect communities,” she said.
Two arrested for possession of unlicensed firearm
The Minister said two suspects, aged 16 and 23 years, were arrested in Mobeni, KZN, on 14 July, after they were found in possession of an unlicensed firearm and 4 000 rounds of ammunition.
“The suspects were charged for possession of an illegal firearm, possession of rounds of ammunition and possession of suspected stolen material. On 15 July 2021, on Lester Road in Mobeni, 1 050 cartridge boxes were found abandoned. On the same day on Lester Road, 900 cartridge boxes were found abandoned.
“A number of people were also found trying to syphon fuel from underground tanks at the petroleum service station in Pinetown in Durban.
“Hazardous items that were targeted by looters have proved to be related to the high number of fatalities,” the Minister said
Attempts to recover stolen goods
Meanwhile, the Minister said recovery operations of stolen items are underway, as the police continue to receive tip-offs from concerned residents about those who were involved in the looting of shopping malls and stores.
Source: South African Government News Agency