South Africa has placed its police and security forces on “high alert” following disturbing messages on social media calling for a shutdown of the country on Monday.
“Law enforcement agencies are on high alert,” the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) said on Sunday.
The anonymous messages doing the rounds on social media are calling for a national shutdown of water, electricity and other services.
However, NatJOINTS said measures have been put in place to ensure the safety and security of South Africans “amidst threats of a national shutdown” on Monday, 23 August 2021.
The NatJOINTS said it was 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,” said NatJOINTS.
“Members of the public are cautioned against spreading such divisive messages.
“Equally, a different set of messages is also doing the rounds where people are mobilising to respond to the supposed shutdown.”
NatJOINTS said it was discouraging people from responding to calls for violence and criminality.
NatJOINTS said it was also discouraging law-abiding citizens 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,” said NatJOINTS.
“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.”
The disturbing messages come about a month after the #FreeZuma campaign morphed into several days of looting, violence, and destruction of infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Former president Jacob Zuma is serving a 15-month sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre for contempt of court.
The 79-year-old former president was, however, admitted to a hospital outside the prison where he is being treated for an undisclosed ailment.
More than 300 people lost their lives in the mayhem and billions of rand were lost through looting and destruction of infrastructure.
On Sunday, the NatJOINTS reminded the public that South Africa was still on Adjusted Alert Level 3 of the lockdown.
NatJOINTS urged the public to follow maximum adherence to the regulations and Covid-19 health protocols.
Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 persons.