Johannesburg politician’s WhatsApp messages accused him of instigating attacks on shopping mall
A senior politician from Joburg is due to appear before Roodepoort Magistrates’ Court on Monday for allegedly instigating the attacks on shopping malls on the West Rand.
The politician – who is linked to one of the political parties represented in the town of Joburg – appealed to his supporters and members of the ANC Youth League and Women’s League apparently on WhatsApp , urging the two ANC-affiliated structures to join him and his supporters in attacking shopping malls in Roodepoort, Krugersdorp, Randfontein and businesses in neighboring suburbs.
He also urged his supporters to block all main roads in Main Reef and launched attacks on trucks delivering goods to various locals in West Rand towns.
Videos led some residents of the western suburbs of Joburg and the West Rand area to frantically call their home security companies and neighborhood watches to join in the search for the suspect before he and his cohorts pounce on them.
Urging his supporters to be vigilant, the alleged instigator said: “The communities of the West Rand are a lot stronger but we are a lot stronger. Don’t attack schools, don’t attack health facilities, but shopping malls you can do whatever you want. Don’t attack anyone except those who try to stop you.
In an effort to protect its residents, Farhaad Sardiwala, vice president of the Florida Community Police Forum (CPF) sent the audio video to the police and their criminal intelligence services. By the time the video was released, things had returned to normal in Roodepoort following ongoing battles between police, security guards and looters on Tuesday. The thieves had attempted to loot one of the bottle shops in a warehouse and retail store in Roodepoort’s central business district.
On Friday, however, residents of West Rand were relieved after the instigator’s arrest in the early hours of the morning.
His arrest came after police got their hands on the voice clip and instructed all sources and contacts to establish its origin.
The suspect was arrested and the police recovered three cell phones in their possession which are part of their investigation. Police say the suspect confessed to his involvement in the production of the video.
He is being held in holding cells at Randfontein Police Station and is expected to face a charge of incitement to public violence in court on Monday.
Brigadier Masolle Manamela – Commissioner of the Randfontein Police Station – confirmed the arrest of the suspect and thanked the residents of West Rand for the information.
“Thank you for your help. The business should be operating normally. The police are constantly monitoring the situation.
“It is sad that the suspect remains in the Randfontein police compound,” Brigadier Manamela said.