23 august shutdown – 23 august 2021 shutdown
What happened on 23 August in South Africa?
The South African Police Service (SAPS) is on high alert and has put measures in place to ensure the safety and security of citizens amidst threats of a national shutdown on Monday.
National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda warned of inflammatory messages on 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,” Netshiunda said.
Police Ministry Spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said messages are also doing the rounds where people are mobilising to respond to the national shutdown.
“The public is urged not to respond to calls for violence and criminality and is discouraged from participating in activities that seek to defy the rule of law,” said Themba.
These statements followed a document from intelligence officials which reportedly stated that instigators are calling on rioters to acquire firearms and ammunition through targeted attacks.
These attacks will be aimed at police stations, military bases, and other premises where law enforcement officials work.
The document further noted that insurrectionists would target state, municipal, and police vehicles.
The same instigators behind the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are allegedly behind the new plan to disrupt South Africa.
This time around, South Africa’s public and private security forces are better prepared for potential attacks.
Themba said law-abiding citizens should be at ease knowing that the Natjoints is not taking these threats lightly.
“Security forces are on high alert and ready to maintain stability in the country and ensure the safety and security of South Africans.”
A national order has been issued that no police officer may work alone and that all officers must wear bulletproof vests, including those working in charging offices at police stations.
Another document from the head of visible policing in the Western Cape issued several directives to police leaders in the province.
These included the deployment of additional units, the tightening of entry controls, and making alternative transport arrangements for officers who usually rely on public transport.
Private security firms like Fidelity are also ready to support the police if there is another outbreak of public violence.
Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann said his national Joint Operations Centre, which was set up during the devastating riots in July, is liaising closely with all the relevant authorities.
Bartmann said the July riots showed that it is impossible for the SAPS to effectively control the looting and damage without support from other security providers.
They saw how Fidelity’s standard operating procedure of real-time escalations of threats, mobilisation of forces, and threat analysis reports proved effective during the protests.
“These could prove highly beneficial for any future widespread violence and protests,” Bartmann stated.
Bartmann said his teams have been working with customers on several different contingency plans to manage any future unrest.
Should a second wave of riots materialise, Fidelity will place helicopter pilots on standby and be ready to deploy its anti-riot resources — including manpower and armoured personnel carriers.
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