Businesses watch as their products are destroyed. Members of the South African National Defence Force along with the South African Police Services, were deployed in Boiketlong, Sebokeng informal settlements, to recover goods that were stolen during the unrest last week.
The deployment came shortly after the acting Minister in Presidency Khambudzo Ntshavheni held a media briefing on Tuesday, to give updates on recent violence, following a devastating week of riots that claimed the lives of at-least over 300 people, the unrest also led to thousands of malls, shopping centers and many business establishments being looted, vandalized and set on fire.
The South African Police Services are undertaking home searches to recover stolen items, this campaign is bearing fruits due to a number of items have been recovered, and will be used as evidence when the suspects appear in court for counts of theft and looting.” the Minister said. As members of the SANDF accompanied by SAPS made their way to the informal settlements, items such as food, brand new audio systems, alcohol as well as hardware materials have been seized.
Upon the seize, law enforcement came across a number of items, some of the stolen items including a Telkom tower battery were found in shacks, when asked the owner of the home claimed he was given the battery by his neighbour. One woman was found with multiple audio systems, toiletries such as sanitary pads and alcohol, all of these items she had hidden inside her couches. The SANDF also came across a truck that was full of looted items, the truck happens to have been found in the Vaal.
Many more including a refrigerator that was filled to the brim with looted items was discovered. Since the violence erupted, to date a total of 3 407 suspects have been arrested on various charges, and 1 700 people are expected to appear in various courts around Gauteng, although the Minister along with the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure pleaded with looters to return stolen goods or risk arrest and suffer consequences, many did not comply.
The Minister said the government plans to destroy all looted items as it has no plans to return goods to their respective shops as this will have a negative effect on the economy, this will follow after looted items have been used as evidence in courts. ‘’Those goods if they circulate in the market, they will depreciate the value of other goods. We cannot afford to collapse the economy by allowing stolen goods to be circulated,” she said in Durban, the police discovered a range of items including a Defy extractor, 42 bottles of liquor, 829 bottles of branded perfumes, five Raleigh bicycles and a Samsung printer from a building in the Durban CBD.
The public has been warned to refrain from accepting cash-bearing dye marks, as it was stolen from ATMs.