Durban 'national shutdown' march postponed

23 August 2021 - 13:32 By Mluleki Mdletshe
Members of the SANDF and police outside King Dinuzulu Park (formerly Louis Botha Park) in central Durban ahead of a national shutdown march which had been planned for Monday.
Members of the SANDF and police outside King Dinuzulu Park (formerly Louis Botha Park) in central Durban ahead of a national shutdown march which had been planned for Monday.
Image: Mluleki Mdletshe

Organisers of a “national shutdown” march planned for Durban on Monday were not able to proceed with the protest action at the eleventh hour.

One of the organisers, Mandleynyoka Ntuli, told TimesLIVE that approval for the protest wasn't granted in time.

“We had a problem regarding the time and deadline. The municipality gives you 21 days to process your application for the march.

“Even though we are marching against the government, we don't intend to go against the regulations they have put in place or do criminal acts. We did state that the march is going to be a peaceful one.”

Law enforcement was stationed at the proposed start of the march at King Dinuzulu Park (formerly Louis Botha Park) in central Durban on Monday morning.

Ntuli said organisers decided not to proceed in light of the response by national government to put security forces on high alert.

“We also saw the increasing reports of a 'national shutdown'. That means there must have been a misunderstanding between ourselves and the ministers or leadership of the police.  The reports made it sound as if there would be looting or burning of property while that is not the case. We did not have those plans,” said Ntuli. 

“That is why we decided to go back to the drawing board because we want our march to be peaceful. For now I can only confirm that we have postponed till further notice.”

This comes after a confidential crime intelligence report was leaked which forecast possible looting and other unrest. The report for the eThekwini outer north cluster categorised the impact and probability of the planned protest action in eThekwini as a level 4 risk – major.

The intelligence came after a widely circulated message and poster “confirming” information about possible violence and the targeting of specific locations around the city as a planned march in Durban was on the cards, calling for the removal of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the release of former president Jacob Zuma from prison and Covid-19 vaccine-related issues.

The message is believed to have been initially distributed on Telegram on a group called “Protest Action SA”, which has almost 14,000 members, the description of the group being “Information of protest action and looting in SA. An informed community is a vigilant community”.

TimesLIVE


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