More than 3,400 arrests in South Africa. Portuguese neighborhood attacked in Johannesburg


Kim Ludbrook / EPA

The number of arrests in South Africa rose to 3,407, following recent riots and looting that caused 212 deaths, the National Operations and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) reported today.

“Until this morning, a total of 3,407 suspects were arrested for several accusations since the beginning of the violence (…), being granted bail on bail to a suspect, and 1,122 must appear in different courts of the two most affected provinces, with the remaining cases in the investigation phase”, added NatJOINTS in a statement.

The structure also stated that “the tension appears to have calmed” in the country and that security forces are carrying out operations to recover stolen property in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the two provinces affected by the acts of violence.

During this weekend’s operations, 14 suspected of being in possession of assets looted during the riots, such as televisions, computers, furniture and clothing, were detained in Gauteng Province and another 92 in KwaZulu-Natal Province.

The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, today he thanked the millions of people who refused to participate in the destruction of “lives, livelihoods and property” during the riots that took place about a week ago.

“We cannot say that similar attacks will not be attempted in the future, nor that those who seek to divide us will cease their efforts”, stressed Cyril Ramaphosa, at the celebrations of International Nelson Mandela Day, celebrated annually on July 18, the former’s birth date. -South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The first incidents, with burning tires and blocking roads, took place last week, the day after the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma, for disrespect to the Constitutional Court.

Warehouses, factories and shopping centers were looted and violence spread to the country’s largest city, Johannesburg, against a backdrop of endemic unemployment and new restrictions against covid-19.

Portuguese neighborhood attacked in southern Johannesburg

Acts of violence and looting erupted in the neighborhood of Regents Park, south of Johannesburg, where at least 300 Portuguese reside, adviser José Luís da Silva told Lusa this Saturday.

The incidents took place at dawn on Saturday, in Victoria Street, residential area where a significant number of Portuguese live from the island of Madeira and also operate various businesses, explained the Madeiran diaspora counselor in Johannesburg.

“It is an area with a significant number of Portuguese. There is only an attempt to rob the home of a Portuguese woman who was aborted with the arrival of the police, but the person is doing well”, said José Luís da Silva. The Madeiran advisor pointed out that Pastelaria Belém, in Regents Park, closed the establishment for security reasons.

José Luísa da Silva added that the government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira “is in permanent contact, informed about the situation” on the ground.

“The regional director of External Relations and Madeiran Communities, Rui de Abreu, as well as Dr. Sancho Gomes, have been making specific contacts in recent days at different times of the day to learn about this situation”, he stressed.

It is estimated that they live about 450,000 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants in South Africa, of which at least 200,000 in Johannesburg and Gauteng, and 20,000 in KwaZulu-Natal — the most affected regions of the country, but according to advisers to the Madeiran diaspora in the country, there are no nationals among the victims.