Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says the death toll from the civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has risen to 276 and police are investigating 168 murder cases.
The Acting Minister said this when she briefed the media to provide an update on governmentâ€™s interventions to rebuild the economy following violent protests and looting incidents that led to the loss of lives and disrupted economic activity for over a week.
"A total of 234 deaths as related to the unrest were reported in KwaZulu-Natal. To date, the [SA Police Service] are investigating 151 cases for murder and 83 inquest dockets have been opened and 15 arrests related to the cases of murder have been made.
"A total of 42 deaths as related to the unrest were reported in Gauteng. To date, and of these reported deaths, the SAPS are investigating 17 cases for murder, and 25 cases are still at an inquest stage and no arrests have been made as yet related to the cases of murder," she said on Wednesday.
Ntshavheni also released the identity of suspects who have appeared in court on charges of inciting violence, including Bruce Nimmerhoudt, Sibusiso Mavuso, Ngizwe Mchunu and Clarence Tabane.
She said while the suspects have been remanded in custody in Gauteng, one has been released on bail.
Meanwhile, as a result of the violent protests, concerns were raised with regards to food security within SADC as the region relies on South Africa for food supply.
"We want to assure the SADC region that law enforcement agencies posted extra security personnel along the major routes to ensure the proper passage of long-haul logistics trucks and the rail network."
Ntshavheni said government has engaged food processors and suppliers, farmers, and agri-businesses to ensure the stability of the food supply chain.
The security of food supplies have normalised, mainly across the affected provinces.
Bakeries have reopened and bread, which has been in short supply since the unrest, has been in full supply since the weekend. Milk supplies are also now available and sugar mills have been operational since Saturday.
Ntshavheni said, meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa and over 100 business leaders have met to discuss the current security situation and assess the damage to infrastructure.
The meeting discussed areas where government and business can work together to rebuild the country in the aftermath of the crisis.
"In the meeting, business leaders and government committed to rebuilding the country and ensuring that poverty and inequality are addressed speedily," she said.Â