Riots uprising ANC government

The aftermath of the July Riots in a KZN store – Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP

Black Friday riots ‘possible’ for KZN – here’s how SAPS plan to stop them

Police officials say they are aware of inflammatory social media messages, and remain on standby for riots in KZN on Black Friday.

Riots uprising ANC government

The aftermath of the July Riots in a KZN store – Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP

Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale has conceded that riots, looting and vandalism could return to KZN on Black Friday, in a repeat of the horrendous scenes witnessed back in July. However, SAPS are adamant that they are prepared for the unrest this time – and have taken several measures to help prevent any flare-ups of trouble.

Will there be riots in KZN on Black Friday?

It’s been just over four months since KZN was brought to its knees by a wave of protests that eventually degenerated into full-scale riots. Hundreds of people were killed in the violence, which also spread into Gauteng.

Mathale and his colleagues are desperate to avoid a resurgence of unrest here, but he accepts that the police force got their approach wrong during the winter. The top cop also insists that his department has ‘learned its lesson’.

“It is true that we are aware of the possibilities of what might happen because we are working very closely with the intelligence community. The response to the previous riot left much (to be desired). We could have done more and out of that environment, we have learned our lessons.”

Cassel Mathale

Here’s what SAPS plan to do differently this time

So, stopping widespread riots is probably easier said than done. But Mathale has revealed the department’s five-point plan to keep the peace in KZN. Threats of violence have been shared on social media, but SAPS now feel like they are in a better position to maintain law and order if things start getting out of hand.

Mathale explained that the following measures have been taken:

  • Communication is key, and the Deputy Police Minister has confirmed channels have been opened with the SSA.
  • Police officers from different provinces are on standby, should ‘extra force’ be required.
  • SAPS officials have held meetings with local community policing forums about responding to looting, violence.
  • Public order police (POP) officers have been in training since the July Riots, and they’re prepared for action.
  • Equipment and armoured vehicles are now ready for immediate operational deployment.