North West police have warned residents of Bloemhof about a letter encouraging residents to stay away from work on Monday.
Spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said the police in the province noted with great concern that the letter, which was circulated through social media platforms, notified residents and employers in Bloemhof about an apparent planned stay away in solidarity with the arrested community leaders.
"Residents are urged to ignore this letter that does not have the details of the writer, as it is meant to cause unnecessary fear. Law-abiding citizens are advised to respect the rule of law and not to participate in actions that are destined to undermine and challenge the authority of the state.
"The arrested 16 leaders, as indicated in the letter, are part of 22 people who were arrested between September 30 and October 10 for various crimes such as kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, public violence and malicious damage to property, which were committed earlier this year.
"It was also at that time that the accused allegedly committed acts of mob justice in the guise of fighting crime. Consequent to their apprehension, they were duly processed and appeared in court several times. As a result, five of them were granted bail while the others are still in custody. They will reappear in court on Monday and others on November 6," said Mokgwabone.
The police have warned against the misuse of social media platforms to encourage, incite and mobilise others to commit crime.
Furthermore, the police said they would not tolerate any criminality or action that is intended to cause destruction of properties, including essential infrastructure and disruption of basic services and schooling.
North West provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane said: "We are therefore calling upon all members of the community to not only avoid being part of any action that is intended to undermine or challenge the authority of the state, but to join the legally established structures such as the community police forum that is meant to assist the police in the fight against crime."