Sporadic looting reported in South Africa's western province as region remains on alert for spillover of unrest

2021-07-14 14:30:34 GMT2021-07-14 22:30:34(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CAPE TOWN, July 14 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's far western Northern Cape Province on Wednesday said it observed instances of sporadic looting, as local authorities in the western part of the nation were on alert for potential spillover of ongoing unrest in the country's the east.

Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul in a public communication called on local communities, especially young people, not to be drawn into acts of criminality and violence. He also appealed to parents for ensuring their children not to be part of the criminality.

The top provincial official called on the community to continue to remain calm and to work with law enforcement against any threats of violence, theft and looting, while respecting preventive measures against COVID-19.

This came as the unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces in the country's eastern part, triggered by the imprisonment of former South African president Jacob Zuma, has claimed at least 26 lives in KwaZulu-Natal alone. Hundreds of shops and businesses were looted during the initially political motivated protest, with roads being blocked, properties and vehicles damaged and burned.

Zuma, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison after being convicted of defying the Constitutional Court's order which compelled him to appear and give evidence at the State Capture Commission in February, has challenged the sentence. A judgment is expected to be announced at a later date.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the national public broadcaster, on Tuesday reported there is high police visibility in some areas in Northern Cape capital of Kimberley and they will be monitoring and patrolling the areas throughout the night, while warning violent acts will not be tolerated and contingency plans are in place for any eventuality that may arise.

Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces in the region are all on alert.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde on Wednesday reaffirmed that no looting occurred in the province and urged residents in the province to continue to remain calm, reject violence and respect the law.

The official has been reminding the public not to share fake news which could create unnecessary panic.

A detailed, multi-pronged strategy has been put in place to respond to all potential risks and to ensure the necessary police resources to maintain law and order in the Western Cape. Additional resources have been deployed to potential hotspots, and the police have assured a quick response to any attempt to undermine law and order in the Western Cape, according to the provincial government.

Local authorities, security services, police and other law enforcement officers are working closely together to ensure that the rule of law is maintained in the Western Cape, it said.

Eastern Cape Premier Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane on Tuesday said law enforcement agencies are investigating the origins of the messages mobilizing people to join the unrest, and urged residents to report attempts to fuel violent protests in the community.

He called on the public not to destroy the province's infrastructure, which is catalyst for job creation, to protect investment in the province and to build on them to create jobs for unemployed people.

While pledging that the provincial government is ready to deal with violent protests and the police will be "highly visible" in communities to protect people and local businesses, Premier Mabuyane said he had asked the national government to put soldiers based in the Eastern Cape on high alert for any development and to support police officers if need arises.

The province's minibus taxi associations, which feared job losses due to the unrest, committed to work with the authorities to protect business. They have organized those involved in the industry to act against the criminality.

Minibus taxi drivers helped the police and the security guards thwart attempts of looting in the province, according to media reports. Enditem