Police call for calm in North West, saying 'criminality' will not be tolerated
National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has called for communities in the North West province‚ particularly those in Mahikeng and surrounding areas‚ to return to peace and calm.
He referred to the “criminality” that has now spread to the areas of Wolmaransstad‚ Makwassie‚ Itsoseng‚ Zeerust‚ Vryburg‚ Delareyville‚ Taung‚ Pudimoe and Christiana.
More than 100 suspects, aged between 18 and 60, have been arrested in Mahikeng‚ Mmabatho‚ Delareyville and Lomanyaneng on charges of malicious damage to property‚ public violence‚ possession of suspected stolen goods and business robbery.
“These suspects will be taken through the court processes and the South African Police Service (SAPS) will ensure they face the full brunt of the law in an effort to bring this lawless behaviour to a complete halt‚” said the police chief’s office said in a statement on Thursday.
“I am urging the communities of these affected areas‚ especially community leaders‚ to come together and work towards peace and stability through robust discussions and negotiations instead of violence‚” said Sitole.
“The recent loss of life and the continuing damage of property should neither be tolerated nor condoned by any sector of society, as such behaviour not only projects the country in a very negative light but also drastically hampers growth and development in that area.”
“These actions‚ which over this past week began as protest actions‚ have since turned to sheer criminality after vehicles were set alight‚ shops and buildings looted‚ private and government buildings broken into and vandalised — which included a police station — must be condemned by all circles in society.”
“Since the outbreak of violence, I have instructed additional deployments of various disciplines of the SAPS to stabilise and normalise the affected areas‚” said Sitole. “Police will continue to enforce the law and bring to book those who continue to terrorise communities in these affected areas.”