The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has earmarked 20 March 2023 for a National Shutdown with the aim of seeing all schools, businesses, retail stores and public roads closed.
According to the EFF, the National Shutdown is a demand for a constant supply of electricity and the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
With the political party determined to bring an already fragile country to a grinding halt, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) pledged its support in assisting with the mass action, mere days away.
On Thursday, 8 March 2023, SAFTU issued a notice informing all members of the federation, as well as non-members that they would be protected on the day of action.
“No worker will be victimised for participating into a battle to defendworkers and the working class,” the federation said in its notice. The Land Party South Africa has also garnished its support, urging all its members to join in on the day of national action.
In a notice, the Land Party said, “Do not risk your life and go to work as your safety is not guaranteed because various political formations will be organising activities on the day.” Whereby the party also urged its members not to carry weapons or burn tyres.
Furthermore, the Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers Union (DETAWU), and the South African Industrial Commercial and Allied Workers Union (SAICAWU) will also be participating in the National Shutdown.
With the EFF gaining support and counting the days until the launch of the National Shutdown, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield said, The DA has written to Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to highlight “the imminent threat posed to the economy, public and private infrastructure, as well as the safety of citizens, by the Economic Freedom Fighters’ job killing National Shutdown on 20 March.”
“South Africa’s fragile economy cannot withstand a national shutdown which will cripple struggling small businesses and leave many more people unemployed,” stressed Whitfield.
He further emphasised that the DA has called on Minister Bheki Cele and the SAPS to issue a strong statement clearly stating their position on the National Shutdown and also to assure South Africans that the SAPS and the entire security cluster are on standby to respond to violence.
“The violent unrest of July 2021 took the SAPS by surprise. This time they have been forewarned and should therefore be forearmed to preempt, prevent and respond to any threats of violence or efforts to destabilise the country,” noted Whitfield.
In response, Police spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, pointed out that the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) has begun preparing for the day.
She further noted that while plans are being implemented to secure law and order, the SAPS is urging all South Africans to avoid engaging in criminal acts and adhere to the country’s laws.
As the EFF’s planned shutdown draws closer, what are your thoughts on the situation? Share your views in the comment section below.