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Mandela Day used to repair looting damage


SOUTH African from all walks of life used Mandela Day – the celebration of the birthday of the country’s founding president – to do good humanitarian deeds, all aimed at repairing the damage done by last week’s violence and looting.

Several individuals and groups donated and helped to distribute food and water to communities that have been left stranded after shopping malls, factories and warehouses were set alight and looted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in the worst violence since the dawn of democracy.

While some provided food, large groups joined clean up campaigns across the two provinces to clear out the rubble left after the looting.

The good deeds came as police across the two provinces recovered some of the stolen goods, which included fridges, stoves and washing machines, during raids in houses where residents could not produce receipts.

The South African Police said 14 suspects were arrested in Gauteng and 92 in KwaZulu-Natal for possession of suspected looted property such as beds, mattresses, television sets, fridges, computer equipment, laptops and clothing items. 

The police also said three suspects arrested for being instigators of the violence are expected to appear in court. Two of the suspects are expected to appear in the Randfontein and Westonaria courts respectively, while the third is expected to appear in the Nigel Magistrates Court.

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The South African government has gazetted special measures for the processing of the cases connected to the violence and looting. The measures include the compilation of a separate roll and the designation of the court to ensure that the cases went through the system speedily, where it would be deemed expedient and necessary.

“These directions will enable our courts and the justice system to respond effectively and appropriately to deal with the cases flowing from the recent unrest and public violence. We are ensuring that nothing disrupts the processing of these matters and that the public can have trust and confidence in our criminal justice system,” Ronald Lamola, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.

After a few days of unprecedented violence, a total of 212 people died and over 3000 were arrested during the violence which has led to the deployment of 25 000 soldiers.

Last night, President Cyril Ramaphosa, delivering the Nelson Mandela Lecture in his capacity as the leader of the ANC, said the events of the past week were well-coordinated and a threat to the democracy of the country.

“Faced with such events, president Mandela would remind us that despite the challenging times we find ourselves in, that we should keep our heads pointed towards the sun, and keep our feet moving forward. He would encourage us never to give up, or even to despair. And it’s important that we should have that message from Madiba to guide us along the path of some of the challenges that we are facing. We owe it to the legacy of President Mandela and all our brave forebears who sacrificed so much for our freedom to remain steadfast in the face of this well-planned and coordinated attack on our nation,” Ramaphosa said.

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Ramaphosa said the capacity of the State needed to be strengthened so the issues of inequality and unemployment could be addressed properly.

By The African Mirror