Joint operation centres activated nationally to coordinate response to unrest
In view of the defacing of statues, on-going sporadic attacks and looting of foreign national shops, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, Joint Operational Centres have been activated nationally.
"We commend the manner in which the different provinces have responded to the unrest. We remain hopeful that, with all the support law enforcement authorities are receiving, from national and provincial government departments, civil society and the community at large, a solution will be found shortly.
To enhance our response, last night, all the relevant role players at the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) reported for duty. The centre from where they operating will be running on a 24 hourly basis in order to coordinate law enforcement's response to the current wave of violent attacks on foreign nationals," said National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega.
In order to improve our intelligence capacity, we have deployed additional operatives on the ground to gather information and assess its validity so as to direct our operational response.
"Whilst we appreciate that there are tensions in various parts of the country between some locals and foreign nationals, lawlessness will not be tolerated. We will continue to arrest and bring those involved in criminal acts to book," General Phiyega added.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, NATJOINTS which is the operational arm of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster comprising of various government departments and intelligence agencies calls for calm and appeals to members of the public not to distribute unverified information about possible attacks as this only serves to bring about fear. We also call on community leaders urge their followers to distance themselves from these attacks.
Overnight, there was a flare-up of violent attacks and looting in Jeppestown, Johannesburg. Six male suspects have been arrested for public violence and housebreaking. The suspects allegedly broke into foreigners' shops and two people were injured in the process. The situation remains tense near Jeppe Hostel where the suspects were arrested. There have also been reports of looting in Mountain Rise and Alexander Road in Pietermaritzburg. Police deployments are in place and the situation is being monitored.
Violence initially erupted in KwaZulu-Natal a week ago. Since then the situation has been brought under control in this province after the National Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, ordered deployment of additional police personnel including members from the National Intervention Unit and various disciplines of the SAPS. This deployment led to the arrest of 74 people for offenses including murder, public violence, business robbery, theft and possession of firearms and ammunition.
The NATJOINTS has activated a National Joint Operational Centre and further instructed the activation of the Provincial and Cluster Joint Operational Structure.
The activation of these operational centres is a proactive measure to have a birds-eye view of the situation around the country and to curb any potential threats of violence that may flare up in any of the provinces. These operational centres will also ensure the strategic deployment of our security forces for the purpose of counteracting and mitigating such violence.
The security forces will be closely monitoring the situation on the ground and people are warned that any person committing any acts of crime will be met with the full night of the law. Also, all law abiding citizens are urged to remain calm and to allow the security forces to do their work. While we rely on information of possible criminality, we want to urge people to refrain from spreading false information that violence is flaring up in areas when in fact it is not.