July unrest: 19 alleged instigators arrested, 86 more under investigation - Bheki Cele

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  • The Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security Cluster has announced that 19 people have been arrested for incitement to commit public violence during the unrest in SA in July.
  • Of these, eight people were arrested by the Hawks and the 11 were arrested by a special task team. 
  • There are 86 more people of interest, according to Police Minister Bheki Cele.

The Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security Cluster (JCPS) announced on Friday that 19 people were arrested for incitement to commit public violence during the unrest that gripped parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July 2021.

During a briefing in Pretoria, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the Hawks arrested eight alleged instigators and that a special task team of detectives arrested another 11.

"There are 19, and it remains at 19. Two of those cases have been withdrawn, and almost all of them are out on bail," Cele said.

He added that there were 86 more people of interest that law enforcement officials were looking into.

Defence Minister Thandi Modise said more than 8 000 incidents had been reported to the police, and at least 5 000 people had been arrested in connection with looting and violence that occurred during the unrest. More than 3 300 cases were finalised through non-prosecution initiatives and some were withdrawn, she said. More than 2 900 cases were closed as undetected or unfounded.

JULY UNREST | One year on, SA still doesn't know who masterminded the chaos

Modise said the investigation of about 2 200 cases were concluded, pending a decision on the viability of prosecution.

In an attempt to prevent similar unrest from occurring, Modise said public order policing would receive 4 000 additional members within this financial year, and that specific training would be a priority that would develop better trust with communities. 

She added that premiers were receiving ongoing security and intelligence briefings to ensure that provinces have the necessary response plans in the event of future unrest.

Modise also said the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was on standby to assist law enforcement officials "to deal with any threat to the country's security and stability".

She added that the SANDF was particularly ready to watch over national key points and safeguard national corridors against any disruptions.

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