A senior Joburg politician, who allegedly incited mobs to attack malls on Gauteng’s West Rand, is due to appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The politician, who will be identified after he appears in court and who is linked to one of the political parties represented in the City of Joburg, made the call to his supporters and members of the ANC Youth League and Women’s League on Thursday last week.
He urged the two ANC-affiliated component structures to join him and his supporters and attack malls in Roodepoort, Krugersdorp and Randfontein, and businesses in the neighbouring suburbs.
He also urged his supporters to block all the main roads in Main Reef, and to launch attacks on trucks delivering goods to various premises in the West Rand towns.
The voice note led to some residents in the suburbs west of Joburg and West Rand making frantic calls to their residential security companies and neighbourhood watches to join in the search for the suspect.
Urging his supporters to be vigilant, the alleged instigator said: “Communities of the West Rand are much stronger, but we are much more. Do not attack schools, do not attack health-care facilities, but malls you can do whatever you want. Do not attack any person except for those who stand in your way.”
In a bid to protect its residents, the Florida Community Policing Forum (CPF) sent the voice note to the police and their crime intelligence. At the time of the circulation of the clip things had returned to normal in Roodepoort following running battles between the police, security officers and the looters on Tuesday. The robbers had attempted to loot one of the bottle stores of a warehouse, and a retail shop in the Roodepoort CBD.
On Friday the man was arrested in the suburb of Witpoortjie, west of Joburg. His arrest followed after the police got hold of the voice clip and tasked all sources and contacts to establish the origin of it.
The suspect was arrested and the police recovered three cellphones in his possession, which forms part of their investigation.
He was detained in the Randfontein Police Station holding cells and is expected to face a charge of inciting public violence in court.
Brigadier Masolle Manamela, the station commander of Randfontein police station, confirmed the arrest of the suspect and thanked West Rand residents for the tip-off.
“Thanks for your support. Business must operate as normal. The police are continually monitoring the situation. It is sad that the suspect stays within the Randfontein police precinct,” Brigadier Manamela said.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the police had identified three more suspects positively linked to the violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. However, he said that the identities of the three would only be revealed after law enforcement agencies had executed their arrests.
Cele made the revelation as part of the Mandela Day celebrations and a crime-prevention campaign in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
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