The death toll has risen to 72 in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng because of the violent protests, looting, and public violence that gripped the provinces since former President Jacob Zuma was imprisoned last week.

Colonel Brenda Muridili, the spokesperson of NatJOINTS, said of the 72 deaths, police are investigating 27 cases in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Police are investigating 14 murder cases and 13 inquests.

She said police in Gauteng are investigating 19 murders and 26 inquests.

“The greater part of the inquest dockets relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops and malls, while other deaths and injuries were related to ATM explosions and shooting.

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Muridili said an officer from Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) was also killed.

“Seven other police members are recovering from injuries sustained while responding to violent protests in the two provinces.”

A total of 1 234 arrests have been made thus far.

“The number of arrests has risen to 1 234, 549 of these made in KwaZulu-Natal and 683 in Gauteng.”

Muridili said the violent protests have spread to more provinces.

“There has been a report from Mpumalanga of an incident of looting and destruction of property in the Matsulu policing precinct with one person in custody.

“There has also been a report of two incidents in the Northern Cape, Galeshewe where one person has been arrested.”

She furthermore said that the Provincial Commissioners have also activated the police social crime prevention strategy.

“They have been engaging with various stakeholders, including community-based organisations, traditional leaders, and the business community, to amplify current operational plans to best tackle the looting and destruction of property currently prevalent in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.”

ALSO READ: KZN violent protest: 18-year-old shot and killed at Verulam roadblock

The NatJOINTS has commended the collaboration between the police and community through established platforms such as Community Policing Forums and Community in Blue. The public is urged to continue reporting crime on the Crime Stop number 08600 10111.

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Presh JM Reporter

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