The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be standing by to help law enforcement deal with any violence resulting from the EFF’s planned national shutdown on Monday.
Also read: WC warns of tyres placed at strategic locations ahead of Monday’s protest
This is according to Defence Minister Thandi Modise who confirmed the SANDF involvement during a media briefing on Thursday.
When asked if the SANDF would be deployed in affected areas, Modise confirmed that they would be on standby: “There is capacity, and South Africans, they will be protected and not be violated,” said the minister, adding that they could not tolerate social media being used as a tool to incite violence and criminality.
“This time we will not let it go. That is a weakness that we will accept,” she said.
The EFF called for the shutdown in protest against an array of problems faced by South Africans including loadshedding and unemployment while also calling for the resignation of Cyril Ramaphosa.
Police Minister Bheki Cele praised residents and businesses for refusing to be intimidated or bullied and assured the public that all persons and property would be protected.
“We also want to caution against the spreading of messages of fear, intimidation or inflammatory statements that could incite violence,” he said. “This is a criminal offence. We are aware of many social media accounts claiming that hundreds and thousands of followers are being mobilised to support the protest.”
“The majority of communities and various sectors of society, including Santaco, National Taxi Association, the Road Freight Association and organised structures within communities, have rejected this call,” Cele said.
He added that the situation would be monitored closely across the country and that police would not tolerate any threats or disruptions. He further emphasised that all government services would be available as per usual.
“There will be high police visibility. Our law enforcement agencies through the NatJoints (National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure) will ensure multidisciplinary deployments, and the necessary contingency plans are already in place. The NatJoints will be briefing the nation on its plans for the planned protest,” he said.
“Heads of government departments and accounting officers in the public service will continue to ensure that our citizens receive the services they expect from their government. We encourage our communities to report any form of criminality and intimidation to their nearest police station or call the Crime Stop number,” he said.
“We assure every citizen that they must and should go on with their business as usual without any fear from anyone. The security cluster is fully prepared and will deal with any disruption caused by this protest action,” he said.
Court grants the green light for the national shutdown in the Western Cape
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