Police Minister Bheki Cele says criminality and not racism is behind the recent tensions in Phoenix, north of Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal.
He has announced that an interim committee will be set up with community leaders from Phoenix, Bhambayi and Zwelitsha to address the challenge.
Concerns over the racial tensions in the area emerged during the ongoing unrest in the province.
Cele also confirmed that since the looting began, 20 bodies have been found in the Phoenix area.
“I refused to completely take this situation here as a racial situation and pardon criminality. Because if it was a racial situation we would not have seen yes in indeed many people coming from Zwelitsha died there are a few people who died but they’ve been very much comrades in stealing. The people who raided these shops from Phoenix are people who raided shops from these other communities in Zwelitsha and Bambhayi. For me the domination here would be criminality and yes indeed the racial connotations have been there,” says the police minister.
Minister Cele briefs the media during visit to Phoenix:
Cele conducted a situational analysis of the destruction in both provinces. He received reports from local police in Phoenix and Mobeni in Durban, on their operational requirements to contain the violence in the two areas.
He says he remains encouraged that members of the police, working with other law enforcement agencies have managed to restore some level of public safety in parts of Gauteng.
Cele is confident that the intervention of the army will turn around the volatile situation in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, following widespread violence and looting.
More than 1 000 people have been arrested in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal since Monday.
Discussion on violent unrest in Phoenix with Xolani Dube: