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Law-enforcement officials gang up on EFF’s planned national shutdown

EFF president Julius Malema. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

EFF president Julius Malema. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 20, 2023


Pretoria - Law-enforcement officials have ganged up against the EFF’s planned national shutdown due to take place today.

Government leaders have also warned that the attempt by the EFF to embark on the mass action could be unconstitutional while the DA in the Western Cape has interdicted the action.

The red berets are expected to take to the streets today, demanding that President Cyril Ramaphosa resign, and for an end to load shedding.

Party president Julius Malema has urged his members to go out in their droves across the country.

During an address on Friday, Malema told party members that all main roads including the M1 and the M2 would be closed. He said bridges across the country would have banners and placards calling for Ramaphosa to step down from the presidency.

He said it would be a peaceful protest, but EFF members would respond if provoked by the police.

However, the looming shutdown seems to have a pushback response from law-enforcement, the government and opposition parties.

Ramaphosa last week said there would be action against anyone who would act “criminally” in the planned protest.

The DA in Cape Town has secured an interdict against violence or any damage to the city’s property.

The Cape Town High court also ruled the EFF was not allowed to prevent or intimidate anyone from going to work.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure vowed to respond to barricading of any roads, whether national, provincial or municipal roads.

Deputy national police commissioner Tebello Mosikili said South Africans had nothing to be afraid of because police would ensure their safety.

She said burning of tyres and blocking roads constituted public violence and was not allowed.

“Action will be taken against anybody who will damage any property or infrastructure.

“The destruction of property, whether it be private or public property, as well as business and economic sites, is against the law.”

It is expected that police will be monitoring highways while they would use social media to monitor the protest.

“Incitement of violence through any platform, including social media, as well as the sharing of inflammatory messages, are criminal offences, in terms of the Cybercrimes Act. Social media users can be charged for intimidation and incitement to commit violence.”

The planned shutdown is expected to be a serious test for law-enforcement, a source close to the police said.

The policeman, who is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “The EFF is known to be violent when they engage in such strikes.

“It’s going to be a serious test for the police. People will get hurt in the process. Police will be challenged.”

The country last saw a mass protest in July last year after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed after being found guilty of failing to appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry. There was widespread looting and damage to property. The protest left about 300 people dead.

Pretoria News