A man was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning in connection with the spate of attacks on trucks in the past week.
The suspect was allegedly involved in the incident in which four trucks were set on fire on the N2 between Piet Retief and Ermelo in Mpumalanga.
According to Bester Maree of the private security company ACSU Security, the company has widely distributed a photo of the suspect in order to get more information about his doings. The company is based in Ermelo.
“Yesterday around 18:00 we received correct information about the suspect. We then went to his house between Piet Retief and Wakkerstroom,” says Maree.
“The man was not at home when we got there. He only arrived there between midnight and 01:00, after which we arrested him and handed him over to the police.”
RNews has made an inquiry to the police about the arrest, but this has not yet been confirmed.
A total of 21 trucks were targeted and set on fire in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng this past week. One truck is worth around R2 million.
The DA has meanwhile expressed its concern over the lack of arrests in connection with the ongoing attacks.
“This is despite the fact that the state security agency knows who is behind the burning of trucks and Bheki Cele, Minister of Police,’s assurance that there are 12 people of interest,” says DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.
“There is even clear video evidence on social media showing the identity of one of the suspected arsonists who was caught in the act, but no action is being taken. This is unacceptable and raises serious questions about the competence of the state security agency.”
According to Kohler Barnard, the attacks are not isolated. “The level of coordination and precision seen indicates a worrying state of affairs, where criminals are outsmarting law enforcement agencies. This failure reflects the incompetence demonstrated during the July 2021 riots and had devastating human and economic consequences.”
The DA intends to file a complaint against the attackers in terms of the Act on the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorists and Related Activities (POCDATARA Act). The legislation is aimed at tackling acts of terror and related crimes and provides the necessary legal framework to prosecute those who are involved in acts of sabotage and pose a threat to the country’s stability and economy.
“By launching legal action under this law, we will send a strong message to any criminal who is considering such acts. These economic terrorists must bear the consequences of their actions and the law must be fully employed.”
The DA will also ask the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to proceed with charges against the attackers in terms of the POCDATARA Act.
The party also calls on the police to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the attacks and arrest the culprits.
The civil rights group AfriForum believes that the real test for the police will be whether the 12 identified people – believed to be involved in the attacks – will be arrested in order to obtain real information about the origin and organizers of the sabotage.
“The one suspect who was arrested is probably just a foot soldier. His arrest should not distract attention from the 12 persons who have yet to be arrested in order to be able to determine the root of the evil,” says Johan Kruger, strategic advisor at AfriForum.
Read the previous reports here.