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Public update by the JCPS Cluster Ministers on the planned protest action

Members of the media;

Ladies and gentlemen.

Good morning.

The Ministers of the JCPS Cluster have noted the planned protest action called by some groupings for Monday.  We have also noted the mobilization undertaken in various communication platforms for members of the public to join the protest action. Government lauds residents and businesses who refuse to be intimidated or bullied and assures them that everyone in South Africa and their property will be protected.

We want to assure everyone in the country that the 20th of March will be a normal business day. We want to reiterate to our international community that contrary to the pronouncements by those advocating for any disruption, all ports of entry - land, sea and air - will be operational. 

Measures have been put in place to ensure that everyone who wants to go to work, travel for leisure and conduct business on this day does so in a safe and secure environment. Law enforcement officers will be out in their numbers to protect them, whilst enforcing the law. Anyone who intimidates, stops anyone from going to work, barricades the roads and highways and uses any form of violence to try and stop our people from going on with their lives will face the full might of the law. 

We also want to caution against the spreading of messages of fear, intimidation or inflammatory statements that could incite violence. This is a criminal offence. We are aware of many social media accounts claiming that hundreds and thousands of followers are being mobilised to support the protest. The majority of communities and various sectors of society including SANTACO, National Taxi Association, the Road Freight Association and organized structures within communities, have rejected this call.  We are aware that social media platforms are being used to give credence to the protest and want to encourage our people not to believe everything they read on social media. Government will be providing people with information through credible government channels. 

We will be closely monitoring the situation throughout the country, and will act swiftly and decisively against any threats or disruptions. There will be high police visibility. Our law enforcement agencies through the NatJOINTS will ensure multidisciplinary deployments and the necessary contingency plans are already in place. The NatJOINTS will be briefing the nation on its plans for the planned protest.

We commend the many associations in the sports, the transport sectors, the taxi industry, the trucking industry and others which have indicated they do not support any call for a shutdown for any protest action that will result in the disruption of their business on Monday. Sporting events will continue as per their programmes by their different sports associations. We will ensure that businesses continue to operate on that day and road are accessible.

All Government services will be available as normal. Heads of Government Departments and Accounting Officers in the Public Service will continue to ensure that our citizens receive the services they expect from their government.

We encourage our communities to report any form of criminality and intimidation to their nearest police station or call the Crime Stop number. 

We want to reiterate that Monday will be a normal working day for all South Africans, and no amount of threats will disrupt the norm. Monday is a working day and we assure every citizen that they must and should go on with their business as usual without any fear from anyone. The Security Cluster is fully prepared and will deal with any disruption caused by this protest action. 

Finally, those who will be participating in any form of protest action around the country must ensure that they do so in a peaceful manner.  No form of violence and criminality will be tolerated. The Constitution guarantees the right to protest peacefully and within the ambit of the law and protesters must not infringe on the rights of others.

I thank you.