Sihle Zikalala rubbishes claims of a possible shutdown in KZN

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says people should not be distracted by a rumoured shutdown of the province next week. File photo.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says people should not be distracted by a rumoured shutdown of the province next week. File photo.
Image: Rajesh Jantilal

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has refuted claims about a possible shutdown of the province said to be taking place next week.

Zikalala said posts and posters were circulated on social media alleging a total shutdown would happen on August 23.

Speaking at a briefing on Sunday regarding the Covid-19 pandemic in the province, he said the possible shutdown was a distraction and fake news.

He said law enforcement agencies are aware of the posts and are ready to step in should anything happen.

“We don’t want to be distracted by fake news and we are not taking anything for granted,” said Zikalala.

“We have received, and some people have reported, posters circulating on social media saying on August 23 there will be a shutdown. We have reported this to law enforcement agencies and we believe they are ready.”

He assured residents in the province that next Monday will be a “normal working day”.

“We want to assure all people in KwaZulu-Natal that there is no such shutdown. We want to assure them and guarantee their safety as police and other law enforcement officials will be all over to protect them,” he said.

Zikalala said last month’s unrest and looting resulted in a third wave of Covid-19 infections with the province recording more than 3,000 cases daily.

“The province has for the past three consecutive days recorded more than 3,000 new cases and is reporting the second-highest number of daily confirmed cases.

“Our third wave appears to be due to the sustained increase in the rate of new infections. The surge in cases appears to have been driven, in the main, by the recent large gatherings by people engaging in looting and destruction of property, an increase in interprovincial travel and large gatherings at pubs and restaurants,” he said.

Earlier this month, Zikalala called for the arrest of perpetrators of the violent unrest, saying they should face “the full might of the law”.

“Those who have broken the law, whether they were vigilantes or looters, should all face the full might of the law. In Phoenix, Inanda, Bhambayi, Zwelitsha, KwaMashu, Amaoti and surrounding areas we have seen the worst of these crimes, including murder, committed in the name of protecting the community,” he said.

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