With the failure to minimize mass looting and violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal resulting in 20 deaths of people, Police Minister, Bheki Cele says a team of 10 detectives has been assembled for investigation.
Furthermore, 80 public order police officers have been deployed to assist local police and work together with the members of the South African National Defence Force, to keep all residents and property safe.
Minister Cele has urged Phoenix residents not to allow criminal elements to hijack their efforts of trying to protect themselves. “Residents have the right to defend themselves within the law, but if we hear that people are being racially profiled at roadblocks set up in the area; were people trying to access Phoenix, including police, are being intimidated, violated and in extreme cases people are being beaten up, and their cars are being searched and torched is simply criminal and won’t be tolerated, police will not negotiate with criminals, those who commit these criminal acts will be found and dealt with, regardless of who they area and where they come from”, Bheki Cele said.
Meanwhile, Minister Cele embarked on a series of community engagements on Saturday 17 July 2021, to address the killing of the twenty people and ongoing violence. The interaction with community members laid bare claims of racial tensions, vigilante acts, the role of some private security companies as well as policing shortcomings being some of the elements fueling the instability in the area.
Residents of Phoenix and neighboring settlements of Bhambayi, Umaoti and Zwelisha were urged by Minister Cele to form a community grouping that works with the South African Police Service at district level, to rebuild the broken community relations and bring about peace and social cohesion.
The team of investigators will also focus their work on the alleged involvements of the local SAPS members and private companies in the violence in the area.