Efforts to reopen crucial routes for essential supplies intensified - Ntshavheni

Efforts are now focused on re-opening the N2 and the N3, vital transport routes for food, medicine, fuel and other supplies as well as the ports of Richards Bay and Durban.

A screengrab of a video showing trucks set alight during protests in KwaZulu-Natal on 9 July 2021 calling for the release of former President Jacob Zuma from jail.

CAPE TOWN - The government said 10,000 defence force members were already on the ground in Gauteng and KZN and that incidents of arson and looting appear to be abating.

So far, 117 people have died in the violence of the past eight days, while more than 2,000 have been arrested.

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Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, gave an update on the security situation in the country on Thursday.

Ntshavheni said no incidents were reported in Gauteng on Thursday and that calm had largely been restored.

KwaZulu-Natal was still volatile, but the 139 incidents reported were less than in previous days.

Efforts are now focused on re-opening the N2 and the N3, vital transport routes for food, medicine, fuel and other supplies as well as the ports of Richards Bay and Durban.

Ntshavheni allayed fears of a looming humanitarian crisis in Kwazulu-Natal.

“There are enough food supplies to last us until the N2 and N3 are opened to move the goods – either from ports or warehouses and they will be moved as quickly as possible. We have prioritised the reopening of the N2 and N3 and the operations of both the Richards Bay and the Durban harbours.”

Ntshavheni also spoke out against communities taking the law into their own hands, appealing that they work with the police and community policing forums.

“We call on all South Africans involved in altercations to breach the racial barriers and work together towards a common goal of protecting South Africa.”

She said efforts were under way to tamp down racial tensions that have flared in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal.

WATCH: Presidency: 1 of 12 suspected violence instigators arrested

INSTIGATOR ARRESTED

One of 12 people allegedly behind the violent mayhem in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has been taken into custody by the police, the government has confirmed on Thursday.

Ntshavheni said police were keeping close track on the other 11 suspects, but she wasn’t prepared to say much about what could be a police breakthrough.

“The question around the 12 alleged instigators - we want to report that one is already custody and the SAPS tracking team has increased their surveillance of the remaining eleven.”

The government sees what has been happening as economic sabotage, instigated by people with skills and resources, who are trying to undermine the democratic order and foment insurrection.

Asked about Thulani Dlomo, a former spy chief and reported ally of the jailed former President Jacob Zuma, Ntshavheni remained tight-lipped.

“The question on Mr Thulani Dlomo. I don’t know whether Mr Thulani Dlomo is part of the 12 instigators – the police are investigating and I cannot comment around the specificity around one individual and no one can comment because that compromises the investigations and we want to plead that that question, when it comes, we won’t deal with it again.”

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