Rumours abound on social media about another possible shutdown from Monday.
LAW ENFORCEMENT agencies in the country are on high alert to ensure that they are not caught napping again, as mumblings of a shutdown from Monday echoed through social media this week.
On Saturday, the SAPS management was in meetings deliberating on whispers of another possible shutdown, especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
This came as a picture of what is purportedly from Crime Intelligence details a planned “shut down from August 23, 2021 until President Cyril Ramaphosa is removed”.
The document further stated how people would be armed and in the process disarm police officers, as well as private security personnel.
Sources within the SAPS told the publication that management deliberated at length regarding the threat.
“They don’t want a similar situation with the previous riots. It’s being looked at from all angles,” said a highly placed source within the police.
The security cluster had egg on its face last time when chaos erupted following the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma. Shops were looted and torched, trucks were burnt along the N3, crippling the economy as there was no movement between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Police Minister Bheki Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba would not comment on the threat, but indicated that they were given assurances that everything was under control.
“From the Ministry’s side, we have been assured that the SAPS is on high alert,” she said.
eThekwini mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, moved to allay fears of a repeat of the rioting and looting that took place in July. Kaunda called a press briefing on Friday, after meeting with the heads of law enforcement agencies to consolidate safety plans.
He said he was satisfied with the level of planning and called on members of the public to remain calm as police were “on top of the situation”.
“We want to assure the people of eThekwini that all law enforcement agencies are working together to ensure that people’s lives and properties are protected and safe. We have also activated our community crime fighting structures to work with police, and share information timeously, if they notice any suspicious activity in their communities,” said Kaunda.
Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, spokesperson for the SANDF, said soldiers were available and ready in KwaZulu-Natal and they were waiting for the SAPS to give orders where the soldiers will be deployed.
“The soldiers were deployed when the first unrest was initiated and had been visible since July. SANDF is still awaiting to hear from the SAPS on a way forward,” said Mgobozi.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said that the ANC was neither aware of the planned shutdown nor had it planned any unrest, and that they were seriously aggrieved by the fact that people had the audacity to drag the party’s logo into conduct which had the potential of perpetuating and wreaking havoc in the province.
“The ANC KZN has countless times declared support for former president Jacob Zuma, and we also respect the rights of individuals to peacefully protest using legitimate channels as inscribed in our democratic constitution, however, exercising such right should not infringe on the rights of others or break any laws.
“People should refrain from using the former president Jacob Zuma as a scapegoat for violence, and we urge law enforcement agencies to act firmly and expeditiously, within the law, against any form of lawlessness, public violence, damage to property and disruption of economic activity,” Ntombela said.
He said, that the party was not aware of the identities of the individuals behind the use of the ANC’s logo in their poster.
He added that they would not tolerate any of the party’s members taking part in the planned shutdown action and that disciplinary charges would be instigated against its members who would be found to be using the ANC banner for this planned unrest.