Thousands of rounds of ammunition, explosives could be linked to KZN riots

16 July 2021 - 17:37
People looting a shop in Durban flee from a police officer. File photo.
People looting a shop in Durban flee from a police officer. File photo.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

Law enforcement agencies in violence-torn KwaZulu-Natal have discovered thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives suspected to belong to people behind the unrest in the province.

This was revealed by acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Friday.

Some of the ammunition is believed to be behind the killings that have come to define the protests and looting in the province.

At least 89 additional deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours in KwaZulu-Natal, bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 180. An additional six were reported in Gauteng, bringing the total number of deaths there to 32.

The police on July 14 discovered at least 500 boxes of live ammunition in Mobeni, and more in the same area which resulted in the arrest of two suspects.

On July 15 a further 1,050 cartridge boxes were found abandoned on Leicester Road in Mobeni, as well as 900 more boxed cartridges near a factory.

“A number of people were also found trying to siphon fuel from underground tanks and a petroleum service station in Pinetown, Durban,” said Ntshavheni.

“And hazardous items which were targeted by looters have proved to be related to the high number of fatalities during which multiple bodies were discovered at a Makro store yesterday morning in Pietermaritzburg.”

As law enforcement agencies continue pouncing on looters, Ntshavheni said the arrest tally in KZN climbed by 214 to 1,692, while in Gauteng there were 137 additional arrests, bringing the tally to 862.

She said that looted goods were being recovered in the two provinces.

“NatJoints would like to remind social media users not to share and distribute messages inciting violence and calling for certain areas to be shutdown. Anyone distributing these messages will face criminal charges of inciting violence,” Ntshavheni said.

“For example, during the early hours of this morning, the police in West Rand arrested a community leader allegedly responsible for the recording and distribution of a voice note calling for public violence in the area. The voice note was distributed among community members yesterday.”​

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