- According to acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, more than 330 people died as a result of the unrest last week
- She stated that around 70 deaths were attributed to Gauteng and more than 250 people died in KwaZulu-Natal
- Ntshavheni clarified that the increase in the death toll can be attributed to individuals who succumbed to injuries sustained during violent mass looting and protests
Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has confirmed that 337 people died as a result of the unrest that took place last week.
Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Ntshavheni said of the 337 deaths, 79 deaths occurred in Gauteng and 258 in KwaZulu-Natal, according to the Daily Maverick.
Ntshavheni explained that the death toll gets revised when those who have been injured die as a result of their injuries.
In relation to law enforcement proceedings, only 42 murder cases have been opened in Gauteng while 171 murder cases opened in KwaZulu-Natal, according to Ntshavheni.
In relation to inquest dockets, 37 have been opened in Gauteng while 87 inquest dockets have been opened in KwaZulu-Natal. Ntshavheni further stated that the South African Police Services in KwaZulu-Natal are investigating 132 cases of arson.
Ntshavheni also addressed the hostile situation at a Phoenix mortuary where bodies are said to be unclaimed. She said an investigation into the reports is underway, according to IOL.
She stated that the government has condemned and would continue to condemn the violence in Phoenix.
Ntshavheni briefly mentioned four people arrested in KZN and Gauteng, claiming that they were important players in the unrest seen in the country, but she refused to elaborate. She did, however, highlight that the police were looking into the motives behind the unrest.
MEC dismisses reports of bodies piling up in Phoenix mortuary in Durban
Briefly News previous reported that the National Funeral Practitioners Association stated that undertakers in mortuaries in KwaZulu-Natal are overwhelmed. This is due to the rapid flow of bodies being admitted following the civil unrest in the province and Gauteng.
The riots and violence ended up in the deaths of 22 people in KZN alone. The Association stated that there is more than 300 unidentified and unclaimed bodies that are in storage in mortuaries in Phoenix, Durban.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has since dismissed the claims, stating that there has been 128 bodies and not 500.
During an interview with eNCA, Muzi Hlengwa of the Association stated that the mortuaries in Verulam and Phoenix have reached their capacities. Hlengwa explained that the maximum capacity of the storage facility in Phoenix is 500 bodies.
Instigators of civil unrest in Gauteng and KZN could face terrorism charges
Parliament was notified by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that they could charge those responsible for coordinating the looting, destruction of infrastructure with terrorism under the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, according to SowetanLIVE.
Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola stated that actions such as the torching of national key points, economic sabotage the closing of national roads that disrupted supply chain distribution of food and medication fall with the parameters of terrorism in terms of the act.
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