Citizens, infrastructure to be protected during national shutdown

Sunday, March 19, 2023

South Africans should be able to go about their business on Monday despite the planned national shutdown by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

“As things stand our expectations is that people will go on about their business tomorrow. However, should there be any individual or groups that are hell-bent on creating any form of anarchy, disrupting the normal flow of business and life tomorrow, the expectation is that the security and law enforcement agencies must act accordingly and in accordance to the law,” said Presidential Spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.

Magwenya was speaking during a media briefing at the Union Buildings on Sunday. This as the Economic Freedom Fighters are scheduled to embark on a protest on Monday.

He said that President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed law enforcement agencies to ensure that the rights of citizens are protected “with respect to those fellow South Africans that want to carry on with their normal business tomorrow.”

“Schools will be closed as part of the mandatory school holiday. It is also a long weekend type of period we are going into because of the holiday on Tuesday [Human Rights Day] and people will take leave and travel.”

The Presidential Spokesperson said that individuals have been going around different parts of the country inappropriately and illegally instructing businesses to remain closed for tomorrow under the guise of the “so called shutdown”.

He added that the state has a responsibility to protect critical infrastructure.

“The state has a responsibility to ensure that citizens can go on about their day tomorrow in a normal way and while doing so [ensure] that they are safe and not subjected to any anarchy or any form of violence.

The President has stated that as much as the right to protest is guaranteed and protected under the constitution, equally that right is not absolute and that right is not a ticket to any form of anarchy, violence or disrupting and interrupting other people’s rights to go on with their lives.”

Those will take part in the protest have been encouraged to do so responsibly.

“It is our hope that those who decide to protest will exercise that right with a degree of responsibility and they will do so with a degree of respect for other people’s rights to carry on with their lives,” Magwenya said.

On Friday the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) said it had mobilised maximum resources to heighten police visibility ahead of the national shutdown.

Deputy National Commissioner of the SAPS responsible for Policing, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili said that measures that have been put in place by the Security Cluster will enable businesses and services to operate and government and that all modes of transport services will be accessible to members of the public.

“NATJOINTS, working closely with our partners and stakeholders in the respective industries and sectors, have mobilised maximum resources to heighten police visibility with the aim of preventing and combatting any form of opportunistic crimes pre-, during and post the planned protest action,” said Mosikili.

Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria Mosikili who is also the NATJOINTS Co-Chair, said the respective PROVJOINTS have activated provincial multi-disciplinary deployments and operations. –