#UnrestSA: King Shaka airport, ports targeted as police work to foil planned attacks

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South Africa Police Services (SAPS) officers stop looters from looting in central Durban.
South Africa Police Services (SAPS) officers stop looters from looting in central Durban.
  • Police worked to foil attacks on targeted strategic points in the unrest. 
  • King Shaka International Airport and the Richards Bay and Durban ports were targeted.
  • The violent unrest has cost the police over R350 million. 

King Shaka International Airport and the Richards Bay and Durban ports were among the targets for attacks in the week-long unrest plaguing KwaZulu-Natal.

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police heard on Friday there were attempts made to target critical infrastructure in what government is calling, "... well-orchestrated economic sabotage". 

The targetting of schools with feeding schemes in KwaZulu-Natal, distribution centres, and industrial areas were also mentioned. 

Parliament heard that threats against the Impala Eskom Sub-Station in Empageni were thwarted. 

"Distribution centres located in Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal, the Value Logistics Warehouse (eThekwini) were targeted, in addition to some companies in the River Horse Valley Industrial Area (Unilever)," a presentation from SAPS top brass read. 

READ | #UnrestSA: More than a million bullets stolen from container in Durban, most still missing

Major-General Leon Rabie told Parliament that over the past week, there were 1 212 cases related to the violence and looting most of which were in KwaZulu-Natal.  

"The following critical Infrastructure is monitored by the SAPS on a daily basis, including the deployment of both security forces and private security: 

All international airports and harbours,

National and provincial transport routes,

Malls and shopping centres,

Hospitals (identified as being vulnerable/at risk), 

Warehouses housing hazardous material,

Covid-19 Vaccines,


Non-hazardous material and food (identified as being vulnerable/at risk),

Factories manufacturing/using hazardous material oxygen, non-hazardous material and food (identified as being vulnerable/at risk),

Liquor outlets and distributors (identified as being vulnerable/at risk), and

Firearm dealers (identified as being vulnerable/at risk).

Parliament heard that SAPS resources were stretched, but have been supplemented by the deployment of the SANDF.

"Expenditure to be incurred is provisionally estimated to be approximately R350 million," Rabie said. 

There were a total of 12 616 police officers deployed to handle the unrest, Parliament heard. 

READ | Instigators of unrest knew police were scattered, unprepared, Sitole says

The police top brass noted that of the 12 suspected instigators of the unrest, one was arrested and three other suspects were being prioritised. 

The Hawks were engaging with the NPA to obtain affidavits related to three of the alleged kingpins and the Chief Magistrate in Durban was on stand-by to issue warrants of arrest.

"The remaining nine individuals are being profiled to link them to current cases," Parliament heard. 

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