South Africa


Nine more instigators linked to 2021 unrest arrested

Nine more instigators linked to 2021 unrest arrested
National Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya at a media briefing in Pretoria on the latest arrests linked to the July 2021 riots. (Photo: Julia Evans)

The Hawks have revealed that nine instigators related to the July 2021 riots were arrested in several places across Gauteng on Tuesday, bringing the total to 44.

Nine instigators related to the 2021 July riots have been arrested across Gauteng, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) announced at the Government Communication and Information System office in Pretoria on Tuesday. 

This brings the total arrests related to the incitement and conspiracy to commit public violence and arson that occurred during July 2021 riots to 44.

At the briefing, aimed to provide and update on progress and to take stock of the work conducted by the Hawks since his appointment in 2018, the directorate’s national head, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, said: “With the arrests of today, we have just passed this 50% mark towards where we wish to go with with regard to arresting those who played a role.”

Daily Maverick previously reported that high-profile political figures were notably absent from the 34 people who had been charged at the time with inciting the July 2021 looting and violence. 

Are July insurrection suspects scapegoats for high-profile political figures?

When asked about high-profile arrests, Lebeya said the identities of the nine arrested people can’t be revealed now and that the Hawks “don’t necessarily rank them”.

When the nine appear in court and their identities are revealed, their role in society may be analysed by those who wish to do so, he added. 

“For us, we are not influenced by a political affiliation. Everybody in South Africa has the right to belong to a political organisation of their choice.

“When we arrest an individual or we investigate an individual, we don’t ask them whether they belong with a political party, or if so which political party they belong to. We don’t favour anybody from any political party. We do our investigation without fear or favour or prejudice. So, rest assured we are not being influenced by anybody.” DM

UPDATE: On Tuesday evening, National Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo updated the media that two more individuals were arrested, adding to the nine arrested earlier – meaning the total arrests for today add up to 11.  

Ten arrests took place in areas around Gauteng and, with one in the Western Cape, bringing the total number of arrested alleged instigators since the commencement of the operation to 46. 

The 10 individuals are expected to be brought before the Durban Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 24 August, on charges of conspiracy to public violence, incitement to public violence and incitement to arson, while the 11th individual from Western Cape will join others on the 26 August 2022.


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