Following recent civil unrest in parts of the country, fears are rife in South Africa that another wave of unrest and likely looting spree may hit the country as campaigners for national shutdown push ahead with their plan.
Most proponents of the #FreeJacobZumaNow campaign are in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, where, last month, violence that caused the death of over 300 people and left trail destruction behind.
The operator of the N3 supply route, servicing Gauteng with essential goods from the Durban harbour in KwaZulu-Natal is equally worried. Security officers have therefore been drafted all over Gauteng to maintain law and order.
Although the planned national shutdown was initially initiated to force President Cyril Ramaphosa to free Ex-president Jacob Zuma, who is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court,an intelligence briefing by the state security officials indicated that truck drivers, under the banner of All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), intend to use the opportunity to violently chase out foreign drivers.
The action of the Truck drivers would likely spur more Zuma sympathisers to join the protest, thereby throwing the country into pandemonium. Part of the information that was given to the provincial government made its way to a memo sent to staff members of the provincial Department of Health, sent by the head of department (HoD) Dr Sandile Tshabalala.
In the memo titled “Contingency planning for potential shutdown 23 August 2021,” Tshabalala said there are indications that the shutdown may happen.
“Most importantly, the #FreeJacobZumaNow campaign is also gaining momentum,” reads part of the memo.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS), which includes the police and the army, among others has reassured citizens that measures have been put in place to ensure the safety and security of South Africans, amid threats.
“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.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said they are ready to meet and listen to any aggrieved group who conduct themselves within the provisions of the law. He further warned that any unlawful behaviour would be countered by law enforcement agents.
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