Western Cape on full alert amid riots in Gauteng and KZN

Aron Hyman Reporter
A scene from riots in inner-city Johannesburg on Monday where looting has been associated with a campaign against Zuma's incarceration, as well as opportunism, and even desperation. Later in the day there was large-scale looting in Soweto, close to Maponya Mall.
A scene from riots in inner-city Johannesburg on Monday where looting has been associated with a campaign against Zuma's incarceration, as well as opportunism, and even desperation. Later in the day there was large-scale looting in Soweto, close to Maponya Mall.
Image: Alon Skuy

“Isolated attempts” at sparking rioting — the likes of which are taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng — were disrupted by law enforcement authorities in the Western Cape, according to premier Alan Winde.

Winde said on Monday afternoon that the attempts were quickly dealt with, and that police and law enforcement in the province were on full alert.

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said contingency plans were put in place should there be any incidents. He said authorities were monitoring the situation to detect any incidents of rioting.

“We are working closely with the police and other security partners to give effect to the operational plan that is finalised today, to make sure that we have both a monitoring and reaction function in case of any incidents,” said Smith.

Winde said he was “deeply concerned” about public violence in parts of SA. He called for calm and for residents of the Western Cape and across the country to respect the rule of law.

“I strongly condemn all those involved in these acts of violence and looting, wherever they may be. I understand that President [Cyril] Ramaphosa will address the nation tonight on this matter,” said Winde.

Ramaphosa was set to speak at 8pm, the presidency has confirmed.

“I will support all appropriate measures for order to be restored and for those responsible to be arrested and prosecuted fully,” said Winde.

“The criminal acts of a few are undermining the rights of our fellow citizens, denying many in our country their right to health care, and to earn a living at a time when it is desperately needed. This is unacceptable and must be stopped.”

He said the Western Cape government, through the community safety MEC Albert Fritz, was in close contact with provincial police commissioner Maj-Gen Thembisile Patekile.

Winde said Patekile was briefing him regularly.

“According to the briefings I have received so far, there have been some isolated attempts in the Western Cape, but all have so far been successfully brought under control by law enforcement and there have been no reports of looting. This is an unfolding situation and I will keep you informed if there are new developments,” he said.

He said he would remain in close contact with Patekile, the province’s joint operations centre, and, “if the need requires it”, Ramaphosa.

“I urge our residents to stay calm, and to report any criminal activity immediately to the SAPS, which can be reached on 08600 10111. It is of utmost importance that every single resident respects the rule of law.

“I want to be crystal clear that we will not tolerate lawlessness, and public violence will lead to arrests and prosecution,” said Winde.

Winde stressed that the country was battling a “devastating” third wave of Covid-19 infections and many residents were sick, and some were dying.

“Many businesses are also struggling right now because of restrictions. This public violence will only make the situation worse, while disrupting life-saving vaccinations at a time when we are beginning to scale-up rapidly.

“We cannot allow this to happen. I therefore call on each and every resident to reject this violence, to remain calm, and to respect the law, so that we can continue to save lives and jobs in the Western Cape and South Africa,” said Winde.

TimesLIVE


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