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Update on march in Tshwane : Friday 24 February 2017

Media Statement from the Acting National Police Commissioner of the South African Police Service

Pretoria: The South African Police Service has been monitoring the march planned by the Mamelodi Concerned Residents from Marabastad to the Hallmark Building, which started earlier today.

We have noted with concern that, despite pleas from Government, random acts of violence, damage to property, stoning of police members and looting have been reported during the course of this morning.

Although the group from Mamelodi protested peacefully, from early this morning a group of people from Atteridgeville blocked roads, burnt tyres and threw stones.  They also, without authority to do so, marched on the central business district where they were dispersed after there was a confrontation with another group, apparently consisting of non-South Africans. This march follows periodic violence and looting over the past week.

Law enforcement acted speedily in arresting 136 people over the past 24 hours during stabilising operations.  They were arrested in connection with various crimes including the looting that took place in Atteridgeville and Pretoria West this morning.

We would like to thank all law enforcement officials deployed today and over the past week for professionally fulfilling their constitutional mandate to maintain peace, safety and stability.  Despite the challenges associated with crowd management, they have exercised maximum restraint at all times while at the same time minimising disruptions and containing violence.

The SAPS would like to add our voice to that of the President, His Excellency President Jacob Zuma and other government officials in calling for calm and tolerance.

We also caution those engaging in violent and unlawful acts that the law enforcement agencies of this country will not tolerate such conduct and will act, within the confines of the law, to bring those responsible to book.  Those who are inciting violence will also face criminal prosecution.

It is disturbing to note that fake news, false messages and hoax images and videos are being circulated in an irresponsible manner via social media.  Last night a video of a crowd sharpening dangerous weapons was circulated as having taken place in Hillbrow yesterday when it had in fact been filmed in Durban in 2015. All must take responsibility for safety in South Africa and refrain from being part of the problem by spreading false messages and promoting panic.

Fortunately so far today we have not had reports of injuries as a result of violence. 

We will continue to monitor the situation.


Media Enquiries:

Brigadier Sally de Beer

Mobile 082 779 8658