Police bosses to visit protest areas
Johannesburg - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and national acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi will visit Ratanda, near Heidelberg, on Thursday, Mthethwa's office said.
Ratanda has been the site of violent service delivery protests, but was quiet on Thursday, Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said.
"We have a large police contingent and I don't expect more violence," Dlamini said.
At least 80 people have been arrested for civil unrest and looting shops and businesses since the protests started on Monday. They would appear in the Heidelberg Magistrate's Court.
SABC news reported that the homes of six councillors in Heidelberg had been torched. Dlamini could not confirm the exact number, but said several homes had indeed been set on fire.
The situation in Sharpeville was also quiet, after 70 people were arrested for housebreaking and theft during protests earlier in the week. They would appear in the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court on Thursday, he said.
Gauteng police commissioner Mzwandile Petros would visit Evaton, south of Johannesburg, on Thursday to assess the situation, Constable Tshifwa Mitileni said.
In Evaton, the situation was quiet following rumours of satanism earlier in the week. Mitileni said there were small groups of people gathered in the town and around the church. Police would continue to monitor the situation.
Criminals may have been the source of a "satanic" rumour at the Living Waters Church in Evaton, Mitileni said earlier on Thursday.
"While we were busy with unrest at the Living Waters Church two supermarkets and at least six foreign traders were looted."
The crimes and the accompanying violent protests, which had been going on since Tuesday, pushed Evaton into the "red", making it a high crime zone, he said.
The Evaton protests were triggered by a rumour that the church was satanic and that children were being kidnapped by church leaders. Mitileni said there had not been any complaints about the church until now, and police were puzzled by the protests.