Law enforcement agencies on high alert amid ‘national shutdown' threats

Police said security forces are on high alert and ready to ensure the safety of all South Africans amid threats of a national shutdown.
Police said security forces are on high alert and ready to ensure the safety of all South Africans amid threats of a national shutdown.
Image: Elvis Ntombela

Security forces say they are on high alert and ready to maintain stability in the country amid threats of a national shutdown on Monday.

Law enforcement agencies said they had put measures in place through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) to ensure the safety and security of all South Africans.

“The NatJOINTS is aware of inflammatory messages on various social media platforms advocating for violence. Those behind these messages are warned that inciting violence is a criminal offence. Members of the public are cautioned against spreading such divisive messages,” said NatJOINTS spokesperson Lt-Col Robert Netshiunda on Sunday.

Netshiunda said equally, a different set of messages is also doing the rounds where people are mobilising to respond to the supposed shutdown.

Police have urged the public not to respond to such calls.

“The public is urged not to respond to calls for violence and criminality, and are thus discouraged from participating in activities that seek to defy the rule of law and undermine the authority of the state.

“We are calling on community police forums and related sub-forums to work with the police as they usually do and to mobilise the community against any form of lawlessness. Law-abiding citizens should be at ease knowing that the NatJOINTS is not taking these threats lightly,” said Netshiunda.

NatJOINTS warned that adjusted alert level 3 regulations remain in place.

“Currently outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 persons,” Netshiunda said.

Last week, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala refuted claims about a possible shutdown of the province. 

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

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

“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.”


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