NELSPRUIT Following havoc and mayhem that took place, recently at KwaMhlanga and Kwaggafontein where critical infrastructure and resources were destroyed, the Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma spat fire, condemning the perpetrators, masquerading as concerned and affected citizens whereas some have criminal intent of cashing on the misery of citizens.
The narratives of the General are deducted from the incidence of violence that broke out since Monday morning, 15 April 2019, wherein some community members went on the rampage damaging property. The actions of some individuals who jumped on the same wagon with concerned citizens and in the process, set alight offices and a vehicle belonging to the Department of Social Development as well as damaging others are described as barbaric. They proceeded and violently looted shops belonging to foreign nationals and locals.
General Zuma did not mince his words when talking about those faceless people taking advantage and hijacking protests by community members with legitimate and genuine concerns. "What these individuals and gangs do, is to instigate protesting communities and steer them to commit violent as well as cruel acts such as looting other people's businesses, vandalising much-needed infrastructure and limited resources in the name of community concerns," said the General.
The Provincial Commissioner said that the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977) as amended, read in conjunction with other acts such as the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Act 121 of 1998) provides for harsh sentences and setting of very strict bail conditions for people facing destruction of infrastructure cases.
People found guilty of such cases may be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years' imprisonment or up to a fine of R100 million.
General Zuma categorically warned those criminal elements behind the destruction saying that they have been identified and the net is closing in on them.
The General further cautioned community members to always ensure that their actions are within the parameters of the law and should always side-line those who have ulterior motives.
A total of 33 people were arrested and appeared yesterday at the Mkobola Magistrate's Court yesterday, 16 April 2019 and they were granted a R3 000 bail each, with the case remanded to 10 May 2019, for further investigation. Another three people were arrested yesterday and processed at the same court today with the case remanded to 06 May 2019, each granted R1000, 00 bail.
Source: South African Police Service