The Police Minister Bheki Cele has urged the police to ensure that there is no repeat of the 2021 July unrest during the planned National Shutdown on Monday.
He was addressing police and other law enforcement personnel in Johannesburg.
The shutdown is part of the Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) protest against the rolling blackouts.
The aim of the action is to also call for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s resignation.
Cele implored the police to protect any South African who wants to go to work.
He also called on them to ensure there are no road blocks, no looting of shops and business owners are not intimidated or forced into closing their businesses.
He has instructed that police vans be put on standby to ensure those who break the law are sent to jail.
National Police Commmissioner Fannie Masemola urged the men and women in blue to exercise restraint but instructed them to use minimum force to restore order if the protestors get out of line.
[FULL STEAM] @SAPoliceService top brass are at this hour inspecting police operations, leading up to the Monday #NationalShutdown Minister Cele days #SAPS will be out in full force on the ground and in the air to enforce the law and ensure the protest is peaceful. pic.twitter.com/UmxdgvsNJN
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) March 17, 2023
Fear and intimidation
At the post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday, Cele warned against spreading messages of fear and intimidation on social media platforms, saying that inciting violence is a criminal offence.
“We also want to caution against spreading messages of fear, intimidation and inflammatory statements that could incite violence. This is a criminal offence. We are aware of many social media accounts, claiming that thousands of followers are being mobilised to support the protests and we want to encourage our people not to believe everything they read on social media. We will act swiftly and decisively against any threats of disruption.
VIDEO: Cele says there will be high police deployment at EFF protest: