Port Elizabeth – No violence had been reported in Port Elizabeth by noon on Friday after violent protests earlier in the week, Eastern Cape police said.
“Since 6pm last night, no incidents of violence have been reported to the Bethelsdorp police in Port Elizabeth,” Brigadier Marinda Mills said in a statement.
“All indications are that the violent protests have ceased and will not flare up again. School attendance and public transport returned to normal today.”
She said five of the 21 people arrested since Tuesday, the day the protests began, appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court earlier on Friday.
All five were remanded in custody until a formal bail application next week.
“They have been charged with possession of suspected stolen property as well as public violence, including malicious damage to property and resisting arrest,” said Mills.
“The remaining 16 suspects have already appeared in court earlier this week, and were released on warning.”
A large police presence would remain in the Booysens Park area and several crime prevention operations were taking place, which included the tracking of wanted suspects, she said.
Captain Stanley Jarvis said earlier on Friday that police had saturated areas where the violent protests took place.
Police on Thursday patrolled informal settlements in the northern part of the city after two days of unrest.
A Somali man was stabbed to death in Greenfields, Port Elizabeth, on Thursday, the third murder in the area this week.
Captain Stanley Jarvis said at the time the man was stabbed in the head, chest, and abdomen.
It was alleged that a group of people went to the Somali’s residence, where a confrontation ensued.
The man was taken to hospital, where he died. The motive for the attack was not yet known and no arrests had been made.
Police said the attack was not linked to the protests.
Jarvis said a case of murder and public violence had been opened.
The unrest was sparked by the murders of two men and the arrests of community leaders.
On Tuesday, police arrested three community leaders from Greenfields and Vastrap for the murders of two men accused of robbing a spaza shop.
After the arrests, residents blockaded roads with rocks, poles, bushes, bricks, and burning tyres, said Jarvis.
Police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Twelve people Ä five minors and seven adults Ä were arrested. They appeared in court on Wednesday and were released on a warning.
On Wednesday, violence flared up in Cleary Park and Timothy Valley. Jarvis said this was a spill-over from Greenfields and Vastrap.
Ten people were arrested in Cleary Park for public violence after looting foreign-owned shops. They blockaded roads, burnt tyres and threw stones at passing vehicles.
Jarvis on Wednesday said the crowd became “very aggressive” and police again used rubber bullets and stun grenades.
Timothy Valley residents also looted shops and barricaded roads. Police helped Somali shop owners pack their goods and escorted them to places of safety. Jarvis said most residents had returned to their homes on Thursday.
Violence in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, started on Sunday when Somali Bishar Isaack, 39, allegedly shot dead two Zimbabweans outside his shop when they tried to rob him.
He was arrested and appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. The case was postponed to June 4, when he was expected to bring a formal bail application.
Gauteng police spokesman Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini said residents later stoned and looted the shop, and also looted several other shops.
In the Vaal, police received around 100 complaints of looting and vandalism of shops belonging to foreigners and South Africans, following service delivery protests in the area last week.
Scores of people were arrested for the attacks in both areas. Dlamini said Diepsloot was quiet on Thursday following the violence. Police deployed in the area would remain there until satisfied the situation had returned to normal, he said. – Sapa