Photo by: Reuters
Police are on high alert for potential unrest after Monday's court rulings on former president Jacob Zuma and Chris Hani's assassin Janusz Walus.
"The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) has taken note of both judgements and remains on high alert to respond to any eventuality," said police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled that former correctional services boss Arthur Fraser unlawfully authorised Zuma's release on medical parole in September last year.
Zuma had served just under two months of his 15-month sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Services facility.
He was arrested in July last year for contempt of the Constitutional Court.
In a separate, unanimous Constitutional Court ruling penned by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the apex court ordered that Walus be granted parole.
Walus assassinated Hani, the popular ANC and South African Communist Party (SACP) leader, in 1993.
The Polish immigrant has been in jail for almost 30 years. He became eligible for parole nearly 17 years ago after serving 13 years and four months of his life sentence.
Both rulings received mixed reactions from politicians and sparked concerns of a possible re-emergence of the unrest that broke out last July following Zuma's arrest.
Mathe said: "The SAPS festive season operations are in full swing with more boots on the ground to ensure heightened police visibility. The safer festive plan will see heightened crime combatting operations and increased visibility to prevent, combat, and investigate any related criminal incidents."
She cautioned against inciting violence using social media platforms, saying doing so constituted a violation of the Cybercrimes Act.
"Members of the public are urged not to spread inflammatory messages," Mathe said.
Among political leaders who responded to the SCA's ruling were Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Agency (SSA) Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa. They were speaking on the sidelines of a police visit in Bityi, Eastern Cape, on Tuesday.
Cele reflected on his encounters with Hani, saying he had been "a special human being," and that South Africa was "very blessed" to have had him.
He said while he accepted the court judgment, he believed that most South Africans would oppose it.
"It never came in our heads and hearts that somebody one day will be free when Chris is forever gone. One should not be seen as not respecting the structures of the laws in this country, but that does not mean one does not have an opinion. It's the law. We have to respect the law. Everybody feels that the nation has been let down," he said.
Kodwa called for a review of the legislation to restore public trust in the system.
"The laws are meant to protect the vulnerable, and if there is a sense in society that the criminal justice system and the laws no longer protect them. That can create social instability in the country. Therefore, we should not run away from looking at the laws that must give confidence to the people. The perception now is that the laws of the country favour criminals, not the victims," said Kodwa.