67 000 arrests made during festive season
A total of 67 000 people were arrested in the country’s nine provinces during the festive season, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said.
The crimes committed included murder, robberies, rape, kidnapping, burglary, fraud and shoplifting, he told reporters in Pretoria.
The number included police officers arrested.
“When we arrest people suspected of crime we take all of them in the same light – that includes police officers.”
Mthethwa, Deputy Police Minister Makhotso Sotyu and National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega were briefing the media on their festive season safety campaign.
The campaign started on October 15 and would officially end on January 31.
The minister said 704 people were arrested for public violence and called on people to exercise their right to protest within the confines of the law.
“We respect the right of citizens to protest as that is a constitutionally enshrined right, and we have no intention to tamper with these rights,” Mthethwa said.
“We, however, firmly oppose any violent destruction of property, intimidation and murder of innocent people, while all these criminal acts are being disguised and justified as public protests.”
About 51 191 fines were issued during this period for various offences, from traffic violations to illegally operating liquor outlets, he said.
“We remain very concerned about the lack of adherence to the rules of the road which … have resulted in fatalities and loss of lives,” Mthethwa said.
“We arrested 2 751 suspects for driving under the influence, which is exceptionally high. To date we have confiscated 451 stolen vehicles nationally.”
On Thursday, Transport Minister Ben Martins said estimates put the number of road deaths at 1 465 people during the festive season.
Police confiscated 721 illegal firearms and 7 638 rounds of ammunition, including nine commercial explosives.
Mthethwa said the use of drugs remained a problem.
“We confiscated six million grams of dagga, 2 832 grams of cocaine, 4 225 grams of nyaope and 2 551 grams of tik, to mention but a few.”
About 1 477 901 people and 501 373 vehicles were searched, and 3 614 road blocks conducted.