Nine suspects have been arrested and 53 LED TVs recovered during weekend raids following a community protest in De Doorns that saw protesters taking to the nearby N1 highway, attacking and looting passing vehicles on Thursday.
The protest led to the closure of the N1 between Touws River and De Doorns in the Cape Winelands on Thursday after two trucks came under attack and a consignment of goods looted, said police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.
Scenes of locals carrying large boxes containing TVs from one truck and an assortment of condiments from another were captured in videos and pictures circulated on social media platforms.
"Police teams, including detectives, promptly embarked on door-to-door raids in search of the stolen property. The police searches continued until Saturday. Nine suspects between the ages of 21 and 42 were arrested and some stolen property recovered in the raids," Potelwa said.
While the stretch of the N1 remains closed, local police including public order police are monitoring the area for flare-ups.
All nine arrested suspects are expected to appear in court in Worcester on charges of theft and one for public violence.
"The SAPS in the Western Cape recognises the right of individuals to protest; however, communities are urged to conduct action within the parameters of the law. Failure to abide by the law will have dire consequences," Potelwa said.
An additional seven people were arrested on Thursday, News24 reported.
One of the trucks belonged to the Buonadonna Group, who spoke to News24 on Thursday saying its truck had been stripped bare: "They took everything. All the smart televisions, and they also started vandalising the truck," said Amica Buonadonna.
Batteries were stripped, so too were fuse boxes, cameras and electronics.