Suspect arrested in Roodepoort for allegedly inciting violence on West Rand

Eyewitness News understands that police obtained information and identified the suspect as the owner of the device where the message was originally recorded.

Picture: Winnie Theletsane/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng police have arrested a mayoral candidate in Roodepoort after he allegedly spread a recording calling for violence on the West Rand.

Eyewitness News understands that police obtained information and identified the suspect as the owner of the device where the message was originally recorded.

This follows widespread looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over the last week.

This arrest happened two days after government issued a warning against posting inflammatory messages on social media.

The suspect went ahead anyway and has been arrested.

Police assembled a team to investigate the location from where the message was sent and were led to a house in Witpoortjie where the man was handcuffed in the early hours of Friday morning after confessing to sending the voice note.

The police's Leon Rabie: "At about 1.15 AM this morning, an individual was arrested in the West Rand. He was distributing messages, mobilising the communities and this was reported to the South African Police Service and we followed up on that information."

He is facing charges of incitement to commit public violence.

In the wake of the recent violence, government warned that people who incited violence on social media were guilty of a criminal offence and could receive a fine or be sentenced to imprisonment for at least three years.

The suspect is not believed to be one of the 12 people identified as the main ringleaders who sparked and fueled the violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

One of those suspects has already been taken into custody.

"As far as the 12 are concerned, three have been prioritised by DPCI and they are currently busy with the processes. The necessary affidavits have been obtained. This morning the arrangement was that the chief magistrate in Durban was on standby to issue warrants of arrest, should that be necessary."

Additional reporting by Shamiela Fisher.

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