The South African Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has reassured the public that March 20 will be a normal business day, despite the planned National Shutdown by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party. In a media briefing on Thursday, Cele announced that all law enforcement officers would be deployed nationwide to ensure the safety of citizens. He warned that anyone who blocked roads, barricaded highways or prevented others from going to work would face the full force of the law.
Cele added that all ports of entry would be operational, and measures were in place to ensure the safety of all travellers, including the protection of everyone by the police. He also urged people not to believe everything they see or read on social media and assured the public that the situation was closely monitored by police across the country.
Also, despite the EFF’s warning to business owners to close their establishments to avoid looting during the National Shutdown, the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) has announced that it plans to carry on as usual. The shutdown, which is planned to demand an immediate end to load shedding and for President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign, has been rejected by Santaco as they believe it will further harm the economy.
According to Bafana Magagula, Santaco’s national spokesperson, the shutdown will be more of an injury to the economy, and they are not part of planning the strike. He also reiterated that Santaco drivers are fully aware that they do not condone the shutdown.
Meanwhile, the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has also received a notice from the EFF requesting it to stop its operations. However, Acsa spokesperson Gopolang Peme has confirmed that the request has been denied. Despite the threats of the organisers of the shutdown, Acsa has assured the public that it has a contingency plan in place to mitigate any disruptions planned for the day.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) federal council chair, Helen Zille, has warned that the National Shutdown will only worsen South Africa’s problems. She likened the shutdown to making the holes in a leaking roof bigger or undermining the foundations of a collapsing house.
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