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Looters will be prosecuted

Written by: More Matshediso

Government has called on the public to not support looting and the selling of stolen goods.

The recent unrest and looting in South Africa is estimated to have cost the country about R50 billion in revenue and placed 150 000 jobs at risk.

The violence not only affected the already fragile economy, but also resulted in over 300 people losing their lives and a number of properties destroyed.

“What is most devastating is the toll that these events have taken on people’s lives, livelihoods and sense of security. The human toll will take much longer to repair… It is clear now that the events were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, when addressing the nation recently.

“There is no grievance or political cause that can justify the violence and destruction that we have seen,” he added.

The acts of violence were driven largely as a result of opportunistic acts of criminality, with groups of people instigating chaos merely as a cover up for looting and theft. The victims of violence, from truck drivers to business owners and community members, did nothing wrong.

Looting is illegal 

Looting is a crime and government is determined to ensure that those responsible face the full might of the law.

Anyone who receives, buys or is in possession of looted goods, without lawful reason, is guilty of a criminal offence. The police will seize or recover looted or stolen goods and arrest anyone in possession of them.

The goods will be used as evidence in court and then returned to their rightful owner when the case is complete. If the rightful owner can’t be identified, the goods will be forfeited to the State.

The President reiterated that the poor and marginalised bear the ultimate brunt of the destruction. It will deepen poverty and unemployment, and cause even greater hardship for millions of South Africans, he explained.

“The threat to our country and to our democracy remains present and real… We must therefore remain vigilant and resist any efforts to incite further violence… We call on all South Africans to encourage calm and restraint, to desist from sharing false information and to report any incidents of violence to the police immediately. By doing these basic things, we can all work to protect South Africa.”

Report violence and looting to your nearest police station or call the crime stop number at 08600 10111.

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