The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has written to provincial SAPS Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi requesting an urgent response to claims that a number of individuals arrested for looting have been released without being charged.

DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison Sharon Hoosen said this had allegedly come as a result of there being no food supplies at the Pinetown Police station holding cells.

“While the DA is encouraged to hear that a large number of suspected looters have been arrested in our province, we are extremely concerned by this latest allegation which comes from a very well-placed source,” Hoosen said.

“If this is taking place at Pinetown SAPS, then there is a very strong probability that it will take place at other police stations too. The scenes witnessed in our province during the past few days, which saw businesses invaded by thousands of criminals, have caused massive anger amongst law-abiding citizens,” Hoosen said.

“The reasonable expectation is that SAPS hold them accountable and take the necessary steps to ensure that they are punished for their actions. This expectation is also entirely realistic given President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assurances to the people of our country that government will not tolerate lawlessness,” she said.

Hoosen said the people of KZN were losing any confidence in SAPS’ ability to enforce and maintain law and order. The release of suspected criminals – for any reason whatsoever – will only serve to support that perception.

“The DA calls on the Commissioner to urgently respond to these claims. In the event that they are indeed the case, we expect to be told what steps will be taken to re-arrest these suspects and ensure that they face the full might of the law,” Hoosen said.

“This is no time for politics. The interests of KZN’s law-abiding citizens must be prioritised,” she added.

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Presh JM Reporter

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