Ready for action — Against the plot to bring South Africa to its knees on 23 August

Private security firms like Fidelity are ready to support the South African Police Service (SAPS) if there is another outbreak of public violence.

Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group, said his national Joint Operations Centre (JOC), which was set up during the devastating riots in July, is liaising closely with all the relevant authorities.

Bartmann was responding to MyBroadband’s questions regarding the Netwerk24 report that insurrectionists are planning an attack for Monday, 23 August.

A document from intelligence officials reportedly stated that instigators are agitating for rioters to acquire firearms and ammunition through targeted attacks.

These attacks will be aimed at police stations, military bases, and other premises where law enforcement officials work.

The masterminds behind the attack have also encouraged people to take firearms from law enforcement officials and security officers.

Other targets include state, municipal, and police vehicles.

Citing sources, Netwerk24 reported that intelligence officials received information there were plans to take over national keypoints and make the country ungovernable as part of a campaign dubbed #RamaphosaShutDown.

The masterminds behind the campaign also reportedly told rioters to target correctional service facilities to free prisoners.

Police and the security industry are taking the threats seriously and have plans in place to thwart the attacks.

A national order has been issued that no police officer may work alone and that all officers must wear bulletproof vests, including those working in charging offices at police stations.

Another document from the head of visible policing in the Western Cape issued several directives to police leaders in the province.

These included the deployment of additional units, the tightening of entry controls, and making alternative transport arrangements for officers who usually rely on public transport.

Photo of Wahl Bartmann
Wahl Bartmann, Fidelity Services Group CEO

“We saw in July that it is impossible for SAPS to effectively control the looting and damage without support from other security providers,” Bartmann told MyBroadband.

He said they saw how Fidelity’s standard operating procedure of real-time escalations of threats, mobilisation of forces, and threat analysis reports proved effective during the Free Zuma protests.

“[These] could prove highly beneficial for any future widespread violence and protests,” Bartmann stated.

Bartmann confirmed that his teams have been working with customers on several different contingency plans to manage any future unrest.

Should the unconfirmed news of a second wave of riots materialise, Fidelity will place helicopter pilots on standby and be ready to deploy its anti-riot resources — including manpower and armoured personnel carriers.

“We have the capacity to allocate additional staff to the JOC compliment to assist with risk analysis, as well as to assist with recovery efforts through air and ground support, in conjunction with the SAPS,” said Bartmann.

In a worst-case scenario, the teams can help with the distribution of food and fuel.

“[Our] JOC is continuously liaising with our intelligence resource networks gathering concrete information related to the possible second-wave of riots and will report immediately if any threats are received,” Bartmann assured.

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Ready for action — Against the plot to bring South Africa to its knees on 23 August