Threat of national shutdown for South Africa on Friday – what you should know

The government’s National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) has issued a notice following threats of a ‘national shutdown’ in South Africa on Friday (10 June).

Social media posts and chat groups have been widely sharing warnings and documentation from security group Fidelity, allegedly detailing contingency plans for a national shutdown across the country on Friday.

The messages have caused some panic among residents in the areas purported to be affected, with claims that the action will be led by several groups including union federation Cosatu, the National Taxi Alliance (NTA), the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and the EFF.

Cosatu and the taxi industry have since distanced themselves from the shutdown, saying in a statement to News24 that they have no intentions of taking part in any action.

The EFF, meanwhile, has given no firm plans for a national shutdown, but said this week that the possibility of one could not be ruled out.

The government’s security cluster said it has already started to put measures in place to ensure the safety and security of South Africans and that it is aware of unsigned messages and posters circulating on various social media platforms calling for a national shutdown.

“Those behind these messages are warned and reminded that prohibiting people’s freedom of movement is a criminal offence. Members of the public are therefore cautioned against spreading such messages that seek to mobilize communities to respond to the shutdown.

“Natjoints is calling on all people in South Africa to work together with law enforcement authorities to uphold and enforce the law. Any action aimed at contravening the law will be dealt with accordingly within the ambit of the law. To this end, the Natjoints is calling for the cooperation of the public.”

The security cluster confirmed it held meetings on Wednesday (8 June) including a briefing by the Intelligence Coordinating Committee (ICC) on the validity of the call for a national shutdown.

“The intelligence community is closely monitoring the situation and the associated risks. With this said, law enforcement officers have been deployed and are on high alert to prevent and combat any forms of criminality.”

The various provincial security services have also been directed to ensure multidisciplinary deployments and that the necessary contingency plans are in place, the government said.

“Natjoints assures members of the public that enforcement of the law will be executed within relevant prescripts to ensure stability in the country.”

Fidelity 

Responding to unconfirmed news of the possible national shutdown, said Wahl Bartmann, chief executive of Fidelity Services Group said his national Joint Operations Centre (JOC), is liaising closely with all the relevant authorities.

“We have had no direct confirmation that a national shutdown will happen. Our teams are on standby with contingency plans to manage any unrest that may happen.

Fidelity will place helicopter pilots on standby and be ready to deploy its resources, which include manpower and armoured personnel carriers, he said.

“We have the capacity to allocate additional staff to the JOC compliment to assist with risk analysis as well as to assist with recovery efforts through air and ground support, in conjunction with the SAPS. We have identified hotspot areas that will be monitored by our teams.

“The company is continuously liaising with their intelligence resource networks gathering concrete information related to the possible national shutdown and will report immediately if any information is received,” said Bartmann.


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Threat of national shutdown for South Africa on Friday – what you should know