Dlodlo: We are probing if former govt officials are linked ongoing riots

Ministers in the cluster gave an update on Tuesday on the state’s response to the ongoing looting in Gauteng and KZN.

State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo visiting the family of the slained Brendin Horner. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo on Tuesday said intelligence agents were investigating information that former state security officials linked to former President Jacob Zuma were instigating violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Government’s security cluster has issued a stern warning to instigators of the ongoing unrest saying they will be arrested.

Ministers in the cluster gave an update on Tuesday on the state’s response to the ongoing looting in Gauteng and KZN.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and Dlodlo commended law enforcement, saying a lot more damage was averted.

Dlodlo said they were working around the clock to feed police with information to act swiftly: “Because of the proactive stance that was taken by both intelligence services of the three ministries, but also the work that has been done by the police in averting greater crime that could have occurred in that time. I want South Africans to be rest assured that we did avert a lot.”

Cele said 757 people have been arrested in violence plaguing Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and said looting hotspots were under surveillance.

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He said more officers were being deployed: “The current situation on the ground is under strong surveillance and we will make sure it doesn’t deteriorate any further. We cannot allow anyone to make a mockery of our democratic state.”

Cele said they were trying to track down those who were inciting the violence: “As a cluster, we monitoring all social media platform as we are tracking those who are sharing false information and calling for civil disobedience. We are engaging the different platforms to check and trace the origins of inflammatory posts and messages inciting violence. And we have requested that these be taken down with immediate effect.”

The security cluster briefing follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on Monday night where he promised to defeat those instigating the looting and unrest.

Cele also vowed tough action against instigators of the unrest, saying they had been identified.

Earlier, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala also gave a briefing. Zikalala has confirmed 26 people have been killed in widespread looting in that province.

He said 187 others have been arrested since the violence began at the weekend, initially calling for Zuma’s release from prison.

Zikalala called for peace and stability in KwaZulu-Natal following widespread looting.

“The latest fatalities confirmed by security cluster in KwaZulu-Natal is standing at 26. These were people that were killed during stampede when protestors ran riot.”

He said healthcare services in KZN have been severely affected by the looting with employees unable to get to work.

“Some clinics have been closed as a result of the unrest.”

He's reiterated that those who were unhappy with Zuma’s incarceration should exercise their rights within the confines of the law.

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