Siyamtanda Capa
2 minute read
28 Jul 2021

Msunduzi investigating if municipal cars were used in looting

Siyamtanda Capa

Cars belonging to Msunduzi Municipality may have been used for looting purposes.

Cars belonging to Msunduzi Municipality may have been used for looting purposes.

This is according to a confidential Safe City report meant to be tabled and discussed in the council on Wednesday.

Safe City board chairperson Zinhle Sokhela wrote that the municipality’s internal audit unit is also investigating the possibility that municipal cars were used in the looting in the city.

Sokhela said they were working with the South African Police Service (SAPS) towards identifying those who led the looting and destruction of property in Pietermaritzburg.

The report also details how the CCTV footage captured the very first incident of the unrest in the city where a business was set alight in Timber Street.

This was immediately reported to the police, an arrest was made, and the fire department extinguished the fire.

Just after midnight on Sunday, July 11 Safe City was alerted to an alarm that had gone off on the corner of Langalibalele and Buchanan streets. A vehicle was also caught on CCTV, leading to the arrest of two people.

Sokhela’s report details how at around 11.11 pm on that Sunday, Safe City observed a group of men and women enter a furniture shop on the corner of Masukwana and Pietermaritz streets. Police were dispatched but none of the people were arrested.

Safe City also captured a different group entering another shop in the same street, and similarly, police responded, yet no arrests were made. At around 2.22 am on Monday, July 12, Safe City cameras captured two people breaking into a furniture store on the corner of Church and Slatter streets. They were both arrested. “Thereafter Safe City detected continuous/ongoing looting incidents within camera visual areas and the SAPS got swamped trying to respond to all incidents,” Sokhela wrote.

Safe City also closely monitored strategic infrastructure such as sub-stations to avoid any sabotage.

Once the looting stopped, Safe City continued to monitor people and cars that were queuing for either food or fuel at petrol stations and more arrests were made there.

According to the report, evidence in the form of video clips and photos captured during the unrest had already been handed over to the police. “Currently we are assisting internal audit with an investigation into the possibility that municipal vehicles were used for looting purposes.

“Due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, no more information can be revealed at this stage,” wrote Sokhela.

Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla declined to comment as the report was confidential. Thebolla also said he had not yet seen the document.