There were no signs of the mass protests that threatened to shutdown KwaZulu-Natal on Monday. FILE PICTURE: GCINA NDWALANE / African News Agency / ANA
There were no signs of the mass protests that threatened to shutdown KwaZulu-Natal on Monday. FILE PICTURE: GCINA NDWALANE / African News Agency / ANA

Calm over KZN on Monday amid threats of #NationalShutdown

By Lee Rondganger Time of article published Aug 23, 2021

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Durban - There were no signs of the mass protests that threatened to shutdown KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.

Around the country there were also no signs that the shutdown threats had gained any traction.

Taxis, buses and trains were travelling as per normal early on Monday as a sense of calm prevailed over Durban and KwaZulu-Natal.

Zinhle Mngomezulu, the spokeswoman for the Road Traffic Inspectorate in KZN said that the N3 - which according to the shutdown threats was going to be targetted - was all clear from Durban to Van Reenen’s Pass.

In the Durban city centre, a strong police presence kept watch over commuters arriving for work.

While some shops decided not to open, many other businesses and informal traders were operating.

Durban Metro Police spokesman, Parboo Sewerpersad said that they would not be commenting on matters related to the shutdown and referred queries to the city and SAPS.

Raz Ali, the owner of Boss-UIP Security, which is contracted to the Urban Improvement Precinct companies on the North and South Beach, as well as the CBD said there was ample security in place for any eventuality on Monday.

“Ideally we do not want anything to happen but if it does we have manpower on the ground and eyes in the sky watching for any mobilisation. If a large crowd gathers we will be well aware of it and the potential threat of it even before it reaches the CBD,” he said.

Ali said that while it was calm on Monday morning, they were expecting a political march to take place later in the day to the ANC offices.

On Sunday, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) said law enforcement was on high alert and had put measures in place to ensure the safety and security of South Africans amidst threats of a shutdown.

“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,” Police spokesperson, Major General Mathapelo Peters said in a statement.

“Equally, a different set of messages is also doing the rounds where people are mobilising to respond to the supposed shutdown. 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. Security forces are on high alert and ready to maintain stability in the country, and ensure the safety and security of South Africans,” Peters said.

The NatJOINTS reminded the public that South Africa is still on Adjusted Alert Level 3 Lockdown, and calls for maximum adherence to the Regulations and Covid-19 health protocols. Currently outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 persons.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, on behalf of the Provincial Government called for calm as rumours in social media intensify of a planned national shut down.

“We wish to state first and foremost that as the government of the people, we stand ready to engage and listen to the concerns of all citizens or any sector of our society,” said Premier Zikalala.

“Protests and marches are legal in South Africa, which means that they must be conducted in terms of the law and national lockdown regulations. This right must never be used to infringe on the freedom of others,” said Zikalala.

“We wish to reiterate our position that as far as government is concerned, (Monday) is a normal working day. We call for calm as we are not aware of anyone who is authorised to carry out a shutdown of businesses tomorrow, or any other time. We advise employers and society in general to conduct their business as normal but exercise extra vigilance. The rumours are being taken very serious and our law enforcement agencies are fully prepared to safeguard the right to life, freedom of movement, property and any other eventuality,” said Zikalala.

“In this regard our law-enforcement authorities have been alerted of this possible development and are ready to deal with the situation to ensure law and order in KwaZulu-Natal. We are in the process of economic recovery and rebuilding of the province following the recent civil unrest. We need to protect and save jobs and livelihoods of citizens. We must not be distracted from our mission which is to reignite economic growth and to create much-needed jobs,” he said.

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