212 deaths in KZN/Gauteng unrest so far - Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

Minister says recovery operations of stolen items are underway following tip-offs

Updating the nation on the security situation prevailing in the country by the Minister in The Presidency (Acting), Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

16 July 2021

Fellow South Africans and members of the media

Since our last update of yesterday afternoon, the situation in the 2 provinces of KZN and Gauteng is gradually but firmly returning to normality. Overnight to the last 3 hours, no new incidences were reported in Gauteng (cumulative incidents 58), 6 deaths (cumulative 32) , 137 arrests (862 cumulative), SANDF deployment supporting the SAPS and metro police remains in the potential hotspots.

KwaZulu-Natal overnight reported 1488 cases, 89 deaths (cumulative 180) , 214 arrests (1692 cumulative). Law enforcement agencies continue to closely monitor the situation in that Province which is stable and fairly tense in some areas. Furthermore, community structures in the identified areas have been meeting with the SAPS officials on a daily basis to assess the situation and go through plans for the day to protect the communities.

Ammunition, explosives and hazardous materials

Several crime scenes related to the discovery of ammunition, explosives and hazardous materials had to be attended to in line with established protocol that dictates that the SAPS’s Explosives Unit determine the safety of officers before the officers may conduct a seizure of such materials. This caused a delay in transportation of boxes of 500 live rounds of ammunition that were discovered after law enforcement officers dispersed a large group of looters during the evening of 14 July 2021 in Mobeni (Lecesiter, Grimsby and South Coast Road triangle).

Other recorded recoveries of ammunition in KZN are as follows:

On 14 July 2021 two suspects aged 16 and 23 were arrested at Mobeni after they were found in possession of unlicensed firearm and 4 000 rounds of ammunition. The suspects were charged with possession of an illegal firearm, possession of rounds of ammunition and possession of suspected stolen property.

On 15 July on Leister Rd in Mobeni, 1 050 cartridges in boxes were found abandoned. On the same day, on Leister Road near the Tastic factory, 900 boxed cartridges were found abandoned. A number of people were also found trying to syphon fuel from underground tanks at a petroleum service station in Pinetown in Durban. Hazardous items which were targeted by looters have proved to be related to the high number of fatalities during which seven bodies were discovered at a Makro store yesterday morning at Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.

Recoveries of stolen goods

Recovery operations of stolen items are underway as the police continue to receive tip-offs from concerned residents about those who were involved in the looting of shopping malls and stores. Law enforcement officers on the ground have received strict instructions to adhere to the legal principles governing search and seizures. We are grateful to the majority law-abiding citizens for the scores of stolen property that law enforcement officers are recovering daily.

The NATJOINTS would like to remind social media users not to share and distribute messages inciting violence and calling for certain areas to be shut down. Anyone, distributing these messages will face criminal charges of inciting violence. For example, during the early hours of this morning, the Police in Gauteng's Westrand, arrested a community leader allegedly responsible for the recording and distribution of a voice note calling for public violence in that area. The voice note was distributed among the community members yesterday, 15 July 2021.

Reopening of the major economic corridors

In line with government’s commitment to ensure that major economic corridors and routes which are used to transport supplies from KZN to various parts of the country are opened, we wish to confirm the re-opening of the N3 and N2 and the transportation of key food stuffs, medical supplies and fuel to all parts of the country has commenced and therefore the reports of food shortages and fuel will be abated.

SANRAL is repairing the damaged parts of the highway in Mooirivier and have removed barriers on this stretch of the N3.

Government has also engaged key role players in the economic cluster to find ways of rebuilding the economy, the factories that have been damaged, reopen businesses and minimise the loss of jobs. We are working on an immediate plan for ensuring economy recovery and restoring the confidence of our people, our industries and our investors.

The Department of Trade and Industry and Competition has set up an email address ([email protected](link sends e-mail)) where companies can report potential, eminent and actual looting taking place at their area/establishments.

In conclusion, we want to reiterate the following:

Let’s stay true to the spirit of our Constitution and let’s remember the legacy of our country’s heroes in shaping this Constitution;

Government will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute those who perpetrate unlawful actions and will ensure that they face the full might of our law.

Congratulate the “National Group” as they call themselves (South Africans between the ages of 35 and 49) - the people of “let’s do coffee” and the 2nd largest age cohort in the country for the fastest Covid-19 vaccination registration. The “National group” exceeded 1 million registrations in 24 hours since the registration was opened for the group. In some province, vaccination for the National Group has commenced.


The President will address the nation at 20h30 tonight.

We thank you.

Issued by: Government Communications, 16 July 2021