208 more incidents of looting were reported overnight in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, announced on Wednesday.
The country has been plagued by incidences of violence and looting following the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma last week.
As the incidences spread to other parts of the country, the government deployed 5,000 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members to work with other law enforcement agencies in an attempt to bring stability in the communities.
Ntshavheni said in a media briefing that while 208 more incidences – 52 in Gauteng and 156 in KwaZulu-Natal – were reported overnight, the country was starting to reap positive results since the deployment of the SANDF.
Ntshavheni and various other ministers spent the day on the ground assessing damage. National Consumer Goods Council tshavheni says she cannot give a cumulative death toll until police finish the day’s tally.
Since Tuesday night, 219 cases have been opened in Gauteng, with 680 arrests, while 464 cases were opened in KwaZulu-Natal, with 1068 arrests.
She further called on South Africans to refrain from panic buying as the government was working with the National Consumer Goods Council to ensure food security in the country.
“There is no shortage of food, there is enough food. Some stores are closed due to looting incidences,” said Ntshavheni.
The government has also called on members of communities to desist from acts of violence in an attempt to protect their businesses from the looters.
“We understand their concern for safety, but we urge them to work with law enforcement agencies to stop the looting,” said Ntshavheni.
She said the government was working with different sectors to bring an end to the violence.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday told leaders of South Africa’s political parties that government was intensifying its efforts and working in partnership with civil society to curb public violence affecting various parts of the country.
Ramaphosa held an online engagement today with leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly, as part of a series of consultations with different sectors of society.
“The President said the destruction witnessed by the nation hurt all South Africans, not only those in the affected areas, and it hurt the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable the most,” said the Presidency in a statement.
“The President also cautioned that several areas of the country may soon be running short of basic provisions following the extensive disruption of food, fuel and medicine supply chains.”
Party leaders submitted that while political differences existed, the situation in the country demanded that South Africans come together to save lives and protect democracy, said the Presidency.