Rather responsive than sorry: SAPS on high alert amid rumoured national shutdown

Police, along with soldiers are again on high alert, after messages were circulated on social media calling for a national shutdown on Monday.

A police officer watches firefighters extinguish a building following riots in Alexandra on 12 July 2021. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Amid heightened police visibility monitoring potential flare-ups of civil unrest in the country, police said they were not leaving anything to chance and were prepared to take action on anyone committing crime.

Police, along with soldiers are again on high alert, after messages were circulated on social media, calling for a national shutdown on Monday.

Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela said they could not afford to be complacent.

“We are going to respond to anything and everything and once you threaten to commit crime, we have to be responsive. We’ll rather be responsive that sorry.”

Many fear a potential repeat of last month's deadly and costly anarchy.

Some ordinary citizens said they were nervous. “The situation is very uneasy and also embarrassing as a country as well. We already have a terrible economy and they’re already making it worse. It’s not solving anything,” one citizen said.

While another said: “it is also a bit terrifying, because if you look at the looting and the rumours of violence that are going to happen this time, you ask yourself where the country is going.”

WATCH: ‘Gauteng has suffered enough’ - Law enforcement on high alert amidst national shutdown threats

FAKE NEWS OR NOT, WE’RE 'NOT TAKING RISKS'

Mawela said law enforcement agencies in the province were taking threats of a national shutdown seriously.

Mawela together with community safety MEC faith Mazibuko have been visiting hotspots in the province on Monday.

He visited the Alexandra business district to assess the situation - with Mazibuko and some members of local taxi associations.

“Whether it is fake news or not, should we ignore it and it does happen, I think the community will not forgive us for that.”

Mazibuko said they had also partnered with various sectors including private security companies to monitor the situation.

“They have also unleashed their resources to monitor what is happening.”

The Alexandra township has been calm so far with no incidents reported.

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