Johannesburg - Police Minister Bheki Cele said it will be business as usual on Monday.
The EFF is planning to shut down the entire country in protest to demand President Cyril Ramaphosa’s resignation and an end to load shedding.
EFF leader Julius Malema said the protest will be peaceful, but if anyone tries to stop them, there will be consequences.
The party is also protesting against the high crime and unemployment rates.
Cele said law enforcement will leave nothing to chance and assured South Africans that police will keep them safe.
“We want to reiterate that Monday will be a normal working day for all South Africans, and no amount of threat will disrupt the norm. We assure all citizens that they must and should go on with their business without any fear. The security cluster is fully prepared and will deal with any disruption caused by this protest action,” said Cele.
He was speaking yesterday at a joint media briefing by ministers in the security cluster, where they outlined plans ahead of the planned EFF protest.
Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni spoke against political gimmicks and easy victories. She labelled the planned protest “reckless”.
“The president in his State of the National Address announced measures in place to address youth unemployment and the cost of living; therefore, the only demand that is the basis for this protest action is the plan to remove Ramaphosa from office through unconstitutional means,” said Ntshavheni.
She said no lawlessness would be tolerated.
“Regime change through unconstitutional means will not be tolerated and will not happen in South Africa. Anyone with ambitions to govern this country must wait to contest the 2024 general elections. Attempts to cause disruption and disturbances will be met with the full might of the law,” she said.
Defence Minister Thandi Modise confirmed that the military will be on standby should they be needed.
Modise said threats shared on social media platforms will be taken seriously this time; she conceded that had been a weakness of the security cluster.
“If there is a weakness in the security cluster, it is that for a long time we have allowed people to use social media to intimidate and we have not followed up. We want to assure you that this time we will not let it go,” Modise said.
South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said they are joining the national shutdown, citing that the conditions they set had been met by the EFF.
“The protest is to communicate a message to the governing party as a whole that we have had enough of the situation we are currently facing in our country.
“We are participating because we are advancing our own demands as workers organised under Saftu and generally as a working class as a whole. We have had enough of the current crisis of unemployment,” said Vavi.
However, the taxi industry rejected the shutdown, saying it would operate as usual since it transports commuters from all walks of life, including essential service workers.
The SA National Taxi Alliance (NTA) has appealed to all its taxi drivers and various taxi bodies to operate as normal on Monday and avoid staying off the road.
“The National Taxi Alliance throughout the country will be in full service on Monday. We therefore advise our members to ensure the safety of our passengers and drivers by closely monitoring the situation on the ground,” the NTA said.
The NTA said it respected the rights of individuals to march, but was against the hindrance of individual human rights.
“Equally so, we respect the right to strike and expect the marchers to reciprocate by respecting the Constitution’s prescribed freedoms,” the association said.
The SA National Taxi Council said it would also not be supporting the strike.
Spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said the organisation did not want to get involved in political battles that would affect the income and livelihoods of workers, taxi operators and owners.
“Our drivers will be at work on Monday. This is a political campaign, and we are apolitical. We do not have a political interest, and we have told the EFF we are a business-focused organisation,” Molelekwa said.
He said the taxi industry was still recovering from the impact of Covid19, a struggling economy and high fuel prices.
“It would be unfair for the industry to lose out on income because of this shutdown. The industry is already facing serious pressures, such as the fuel price,” Molelekwa said.
He appealed to those who would be participating in the shutdown to have the utmost respect for the law and for those who would be using taxis to travel to work.
Joburg Metro Bus and Rea Vaya Bus services were also expected to be operational on Monday.
The trucking industry also rejected joining the protest.