SA Riots: Buyers of Looted Goods Risk Imprisonment

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is under investigation over graft allegations.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during the International Labor Organization (ILO) International Labour Conference on June 10, 2019 in Geneva. – The head of the ILO urged the agency to approve new rules to stop violence and harassment in the workplace, which have faced resistance from employer representatives. ILO director general made the call as he opened a congress marking the United Nations labour body’s 100th anniversary. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Police in South Africa through the national head of communication, Major General Mathapelo Peters has warned that anyone buying goods looted during the rioting last week or those found in possession of these stolen items risk getting jailed.

Several shops, ATMs and warehouses were looted during several days of rioting in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. The civil unrest was triggered by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma.

Soldiers guard an autobahn at the Bara taxi rank shops in Soweto, Johannesburg, Monday, July 12, 2021. Police say six people are dead and more than 200 have been arrested amid escalating violence during rioting that broke out following the imprisonment of South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma. (AP Photo/Ali Greeff)

Major General Peters said: “A warning has been issued to those who were not part of the looting spree but are buying stolen property from the looters that they too, will be arrested for being in possession of stolen property.”

She said comprehensive clampdown operations are underway to track down people who have the stolen goods in their homes.

“In Gauteng during integrated operations at a number of hostels in mostly Tembisa, Johannesburg, Alexandra and Moroka over the weekend, 14 suspects were arrested for being in possession of suspected looted property.” Peters Added.

Amongst the goods recovered were live rounds, bed mattresses; television sets; couches; fridges, sound systems; computer screens and laptops; steel frames; grocery, and clothing items.

Banknotes Stolen from Vandalised ATMs Useless

In a similar vein, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has cautioned that banknotes stolen from ATMs during the recent civil unrest are useless.

SABRIC stated that lot of cash was stolen in the mayhem after hundreds of ATMs were vandalised during the violence.

The machines hold cash in containers that protect cash with dye-stain technology that is activated when someone tries to break open the container.

The cash is stained with a green dye, thereby ruining the notes, rendering them unusable as currency.

The stained notes are recognised as having no monetary value once they are stained. People who are in possession of these notes make themselves suspects of a criminal investigation that will seek to determine if they were involved in the stealing and unauthorised access of these ATM containers.

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