Police in the Free State are aware of a social network message distributed in some areas in the province, especially Bloemfontein, regarding alleged treats by violent gangs intending to attack and disrupt schools today. The police’s Provincial Head of Communication, Sam Makhele, says safety plans are in place to ensure communities’, and more importantly, learners’ safety. He says the focus is especially on schools where police are aware of this type of incidents having taken place in the past.
We are warning the community to refrain from distributing these social media messages. “The more people spread these messages, more panic in the areas that police are focusing on, is caused.” He says police are ready to deal with the situation and to safeguard communities.
According to Makhele various liaising officers are constantly in contact with schools in identified areas. Makhele, however, did not elaborate on the police’s safety plans at schools. He ensures communities of police’s commitment. “We have focused on the places which, through our intelligence information, directed us to specific schools.” Makhele does not identify the schools because police are going to “hit hard on places” which are under threat.
Meanwhile Acting Free State Premier, Sam Mashinini, has also called on communities, educators and parents to remain calm and rest assured that law enforcement agencies are on high alert.
In a media statement Mashinini said government has noted messages circulating on social media about a group of gangsters allegedly planning to attack learners and members of the community. Mashinini said government is opposed to any form of violence, intimidation or instigation of crime. Government will not allow any attempt by people to disrupt schools. – Christal-Lize Muller