The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have confirmed that the National Shutdown is going ahead as planned on Monday, 20 March 2023. While the protest is primarily about demanding access to electricity, it also calls for the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
As a democratic country, South Africa upholds the right to peaceful protest under Section 17 of the Constitution. This means that individuals and groups have the right to express their views and grievances through peaceful demonstrations.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially deployed 3,474 soldiers from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) countrywide to work with SAPS for the prevention of crime and preservation of law and order. This deployment will cost over R166m and will be in place until 17th April 2023.
The EFF has insisted that they will not be intimidated by the military presence and will continue with their peaceful protest. The Fighters say that “South Africa has degenerated into a military state, and the deployment of the army to suppress Constitutional Right to protest, means we have returned to the dark days of Apartheid”.
As reported on Friday, the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has stated that it will be operating as normal on the day of the national shutdown. While maintaining its apolitical stance, SANTACO respects the EFF’s reasons for the protest and has expressed a willingness to work together with the EFF.
Protestors have already begun hanging anti-Ramaphosa banners along major highways. Police in some areas have started confiscating tires that are typically burned and used to barricade roads. High police visibility has been reported in several areas, including the Midrand and Tembisa regions.
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