Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, is confident police are capable of restoring law and order back into areas affected by violent looting and vandalism in Johannesburg central.
Minister Cele on Tuesday met with Izinduna representing communities residing in hostels around the Johannesburg area.
“All stakeholders including provincial structures of the Gauteng legislature and SAPS management agreed to host an Imbizo with residents of the hostel and other stakeholders. The planned Imbizo with all affected parties will work towards finding a lasting solution and restoring calm in the area,” said Ministry spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, in a statement.
According to police investigations, many suspects arrested for criminal acts reside in the Johannesburg central hostels.
General Cele has condemned the death of five people who have lost their lives since the start of the violence on Sunday.
Responding to questions of whether the South African Police Service is equipped to curb the violence. General Cele said: “Anyone who thinks we as the SAPS don’t have intelligence on the ground, better think again. There are several instances that criminal acts were stopped before they started and officers were acting on information from crime intelligence”.
Cele also made it clear the deployment of additional forces such as the South African National Defence Force is not on the cards.
“I really don’t believe that it’s only foreign-owned shops that are being targeted. It’s clear its pure criminal elements that are taking advantage of a volatile situation. As the South African Police Service, our job is clear; we are on the ground to deal with lawlessness and all its manifestations,” Cele said.
Izinduna, who met with Minister Cele, have assured the Gauteng SAPS management that hostel dwellers have been urged to refrain from acts of violence leading up to the Imbizo planned for Sunday.