Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Thursday that one of the 12 alleged instigators of riots that swept across two provinces has been arrested.
Ntshavheni was giving an update to the government's response to days of civil unrest that has caused damage to infrastructure running into billions of rand.
Police tracking teams were keeping the remaining 11 suspects under surveillance, she said.
Ntshavheni appealed to residents in areas affected by the violence to work with the authorities to bring the situation under control and set aside racial divisions.
This is a developing story.