Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has put his foot down ahead of the EFF’s national shutdown on Monday, saying those who wanted to spread anarchy would not be allowed to do so on Monday.
Defence Minister Thandi Modise also told the media earlier on Thursday that the SANDF was on standby for the national shutdown on Monday.
Ramaphosa said coercing others to act in a way that you want was not part of South Africa’s democratic architecture.
Ramaphosa was speaking with the media during a media engagement with his Tanzanian counterpart, Samoa Hassan, on Thursday.
Ramaphosa said: “The right to protest is not underpinned by violence. It is not a right that allows anyone to be embarking on anarchy or disorder.
“It is a right that says you must respect the rights of others. It is not a right for anyone to coerce anyone to do what they don’t want to do and it is not a right that you have to intimidate others and to threaten others with violence and say if you do not do what we like, then we are going to take action against you.
“That completely goes against the ethos of our Constitution.”
The national shutdown, which was announced by the EFF, aims to address the ongoing issues faced by millions of South Africans; including unprecedented levels of load shedding blackouts, gender-based violence, unemployment, high cost of living and crime, among many others.
EFF leader Julius Malema has called on all angry and frustrated South Africans from all walks of life to take to the streets on Monday and reiterated this in a media briefing on Wednesday.
During a national security council meeting that was held on Wednesday, plans to ensure the safety of people and the country at large, were put in place with Police Minister Bheki Cele and Modise expressing they were ready for the shutdown.
“The security forces of our country are going to defend our people. They are going to make sure that intimidation, anarchy and disorder will not prevail.
“We will not allow those who want to spread anarchy to do what they like here in South Africa. We are a constitutional democracy,” said Ramaphosa.