‘Mother of national shutdowns’ set for Durban and Richards Bay

16 March 2023 - 13:56 By Sakhiseni Nxumalo and MFUNDO MKHIZE
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KwaZulu-Natal’s economic hubs, Durban and Richards Bay, will be the main focus for the EFF when they embark on the national shutdown on Monday. 

This was revealed by the party in the province, which says the masses are ready to hit the ground in those areas to bring the two financial hubs to a standstill.

The party is undertaking a shutdown of the country, calling for President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign and an end to the crippling electricity crisis.

The party leadership in the province didn't want to divulge more on their plan to TimesLIVE, saying they didn't want to “tip off” the police. 

“What I can confirm to you is that you [reporter] may need to be anywhere around Durban. Our processes in the province will be overseen by our secretary-general [Marshall Dlamini]. The two most important points would be Richards Bay and Durban,” said EFF KZN spokesperson Mazwi Blose. 

“When the time comes, we will then reveal the actual points where we will be.”

Blose said since it wasn't a march, they wouldn't move from point A to B. 

He said there was information they reserved to guard against police hostility. 

On Wednesday, party president Julius Malema referenced deaths in Phoenix in July 2021, in which at least 36 people were killed during civil unrest. More than 350 people died and many businesses were destroyed during the disruptions nationally.

“We know what those people [Phoenix residents] are capable of. They must not outnumber you or outsmart you. If they come with the same attitude, give them the same attitude, twice. We are ready for Phoenix. We are going to eat 'ready for anything',” said Malema. 

Meanwhile, KZN premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube called on protesters to exercise maximum restraint and avoid any unlawful behaviour that might be linked to any democratic right to air grievances. She called upon the police to work with the rest of the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster (JCPS) to plan accordingly. She also urged them to ensure a lawful protest without endangering lives or damage to property.

“The purpose of the national shutdown is to highlight South Africa’s socioeconomic issues, including load-shedding, and they plan to bring economic activity to a standstill by blocking roads and disrupting the flow of goods and services,” said Dube-Ncube.

EFF leader Julius Malema has called for a national shutdown on Monday. File photo.
EFF leader Julius Malema has called for a national shutdown on Monday. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

The JCPS issued a statement on Wednesday to reassure South Africans that Monday would be a normal business day. It said contrary to statements calling for disruption, all ports of entry — land, sea and air — would be operational.

The cluster said measures had been put in place to ensure everyone going to work, travelling for leisure and conducting business would do so safely. 

“Law enforcement officers will be out in their numbers to protect them while enforcing the law. Anyone who intimidates, stops anyone from going to work, barricades the roads and highways and uses any form of violence to try to stop our people from going on with their lives will face the full might of the law.

“We also want to caution against the spreading of messages of fear, intimidation or inflammatory statements that could incite violence. This is a criminal offence,” said the cluster. 

Santaco 'still grappling' with triple setbacks

Santaco KZN chairperson Sifiso Shangase distanced the transport body from the shutdown and said their stance had been informed by its national leadership, which met the EFF this week.

Shangase said the outbreak of Covid-19, the July 2021 riots and the 2022 April floods had been catastrophic for the province.

“We have seen where our nation comes from, and right now we are still grappling with efforts of trying to bounce back into economic recovery. We still have a challenge of trying to see how we are going fulfil this,” said Shangase.

He said as a taxi body they acknowledged that the call for the shutdown was made by a political organisation.

“We have to be consistent in our decision-making so that we do not set the wrong precedent. What happens tomorrow if another political party makes a similar call? We have to be consistent, as we are not in politics,” said Shangase.

The body was also relying on law enforcement to ensure citizens upheld the law.

Though he could not quantify the extent of financial losses incurred by the industry as a result of these triple setbacks, he said it ran into millions of rand. 


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