Security companies, community police forums and the police have drawn up contingency plans to stop looting and public violence. (Guillem Sartorio/AFP)
Community Policing Forums (CPFs) and neighborhood watches in Durban are on high alert this weekend to try to prevent a repeat of the incident. July 2021 riots and looting as a result of the closure on Monday, which has been called by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Although the EFF has insisted that its protests across the country will be peaceful, security companies, CPF and the police have plans in place, should looting and public violence approach the devastating levels seen after the former president’s imprisonment jacob zuma.
Boni Mthiyane, president of eThekwini Neighborhood Watch, which set up shop in the Inanda, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma area after the 2021 riots, said she would put all her members on alert starting Friday.
“We are concerned about the possibility of looting on Monday.
“We formed after the devastation of looting in 2021 and we don’t want to see looting incidents in our municipality again,” Mthiyane said. “We believe that this protest may be accompanied by looting, so we have to be prepared.”
The organization, which works with the metro police and South African Police Servicewill send its members to shopping malls and other strategic areas starting Sunday.
“We understand that the party has the right to call political protests. That is their democratic right, as long as it is peaceful and shops are not looted and people are not in danger,” Mthiyane said.
“We will put our members on alert starting Friday and send our members to areas where people will gather. We will also surround the malls in Newlands, Inanda, KwaMashu and the rest of the area (Inanda, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma).”
Neighborhood watch now has branches in Umlazi and Lamontville, in the south of the city, which would also be out on Sunday night and Monday.
“We are definitely going to be there to protect those areas.”
Calvin Thomas of the Umbilo CPF said they had contingency plans and would meet with police, businesses and other groups over the weekend in preparation for Monday.
“The concern is always that people loot. The march will take place peacefully, but we are not sure what will happen next,” Thomas said. “We will be putting our people on high alert through the weekend and for most of the next week, to make sure nothing goes wrong.”
durban mayor Mxolisi Kaunda He said Wednesday that the city would “leave nothing to chance” and would implement a comprehensive security plan in conjunction with police to “prevent undermining the authority of the state and ensure that the public and business community feel safe.”
Kaunda said that the EFF, one of the ANC coalition allies, who had helped him maintain control of the durban metro —had assured city leaders that the closure would be peaceful.
“While peaceful protests are permitted, we have a responsibility to protect those who are not part of this shutdown, and have a right to be protected. Those who protest must do so within the scope of the law.
“Anyone who undermines the authority of the state will face the full power of the law and we will not budge on this,” Kaunda said.
The prime minister of the province, Nomusa Dube-NcubeHe called on the security forces to maintain order and on the protesters to “exercise the utmost restraint” and to “avoid and prevent any illegal behavior.”