While 19 suspects have been arrested for suspicion of incitement to commit public violence during the July 2021 unrest, a further 86 remain people of interest.
This was on Friday revealed by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) during a media briefing update on government interventions on the events of last July.
Between 9 and 18 July last year, over 354 people died when an unprecedented civil unrest engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
Reading a statement on behalf of the Cluster, Defence Minister, Thandi Modise, said the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Hawks continue to investigate the crimes committed during this period.
“[They are] building cases against those who were arrested as a result of the July 2021 unrest. To this end, over 8 000 incidents were reported to the police and at least 5 000 people were arrested.”
She said cases under investigation include: incitement to commit public violence, murder, attempted murder, arson, malicious damage to property, possession of suspected stolen property, damage to infrastructure, and culpable homicide.
“More than 3 300 cases have thus far been finalised through non-prosecution, with some being withdrawn in or before court. Over 2 900 cases were closed as undetected or unfounded,” she said.
Of the 19 cases from which the DPCI was investigating, eight were in relation to people who were arrested on suspicion of incitement to commit public violence.
“The investigation of about 2 200 cases is concluded pending a decision on the viability of the prosecution of the cases. A number of dockets have been referred to the Directors of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for a decision, further guidance and direction on the matter. Over 2 435 cases are on the court roll with over 50 cases finalised with a guilty verdict,” she said.
The South African Police Service (SAPS)
SAPS and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) continue to work around the clock investigating the crimes that were committed and building cases against those who were arrested as a result of the July 2021 unrest. To this end, over 8 000 incidents were reported to the police and at least 5 000 people were arrested.
In Phoenix, outside Durban, the Minister said 164 cases were investigated.
Of these, 120 are still under investigation with 69 suspects arrested for various crimes.
A total 36 of these suspects were arrested for their alleged respective roles in the murder of 35 people, while 31 people have been arrested for attempted murder.
Modise said people who died during the unrest were not “mere numbers, but precious lives lost”.
“Our hearts go out to the families that lost their loved ones and to the thousands who were injured. It is in their memory and honour that we stand before you this morning, as JCPS Ministers, to make a solemn commitment that our country should not be subjected to the level of anarchy and destruction we witnessed last year.” – SAnews.gov.za