PRETORIA – There has been strong condemnation by the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) of the lawlessness and criminality ravaging South Africa.
Scores of people have been arrested in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng as sporadic violence and looting continue.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said those taken into custody would have their cases prioritised once they reached the courts.
THE NDPP and the leadership of the National Prosecuting Authority are monitoring developments to better organise the NPA to respond appropriately.
NPA spokesperson Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga said directors of public prosecutions in affected divisions had been advised to prioritise these matters, and to refer the cases to prosecutors with the requisite experience who must work with and guide police in their investigations.
He said they were working closely with relevant government departments, particularly the police, to ensure full and transparent accountability from anyone accused of committing crimes linked to the violence, riots and looting.
Mhaga said while South Africans had the right to express discontent through peaceful protests, riots and criminal looting undermined the rule of law and would damage the country’s economy at a time when it was in the grips of a debilitating third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said those arrested could face several charges including public violence, theft, incitement, and malicious injury to property, which is to unlawfully and intentionally damage to the property of another.
OFFICIALS TARGET INSTIGATORS
State Security Agency Minister Ayanda Dlodlo on Tuesday said authorities were going after those inciting the mayhem that’s ravaging parts of the country.
Dlodlo refuses to accept that the country’s intelligence structures failed spectacularly in predicting the lawlessness.
She has defended law enforcement agencies, saying they were not missing in action as the looting and unrest raged out of control.
She said those stoking the flames by posting inflammatory messages on social media were breaking the law and must be arrested.
“This right of freedom of expression is not extended to propaganda of incitement of imminent violence or advocates of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender, or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm,” she said.
Her police counterpart Bheki Cele said the social media instigators were being investigated.
“People are mentioning names of the people that are running this so-called social media war. One or two names that are among 12 names and the security cluster is looking at them,” Cele said.
But as ministers try defend government, the country remains on edge with fears of further anarchy and concerns the violence will spread.