The DA in the City of Johannesburg demands a firm commitment from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) responsible for Public Safety, Cllr Dr Mgcini Tshwaku, to a peaceful protest action by his party during its so-called “national shutdown” planned for Monday, 20 March 2023.
The residents of the City, in particular, and the people of South Africa, more broadly, have seen in the past how protest action, marches or public demonstrations by the EFF have been associated with violence. This violence has, in some well-documented cases, taken the form of attacks on persons and malicious damage to both public infrastructure and private property.
Whilst it is accepted that section 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution) guarantees everyone the right, “peacefully and unarmed”, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions, it is important that MMC Tshwaku confirms to the residents of the City, especially in the townships, and those who are doing business here that his party, the EFF, will not engage in any form of violence against any person or cause damage to any property during the protest action.
In addition, it is also absolutely essential that MMC Tshwaku gives a public undertaking, as an EFF MMC for Public Safety in the City of Johannesburg, that the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) has a comprehensive operational plan and resources in place to proactively react to any situation of lawlessness and violence.
Furthermore, the EFF MMC must assure the residents of our City that the rule of law will be adhered to and by-laws enforced, starting with the immediate removal of all the illegal EFF posters still hanging around the City. The DA expects the MMC to give the residents of the City his word that no one will be prevented from going to work or operating their businesses on the day of the so-called “national shutdown”.
It is deeply concerning that the EFF is choosing to bring the already-battered economy of our country to its knees through a national shutdown instead of joining hands with the people of South Africa to protect what’s left of the economy after almost 30 years of ANC mismanagement.
The DA agrees that the ANC has destroyed our country through such policies as cadre deployment, which was recently declared unlawful by the Gauteng Division of the High Court. We also agree that the ANC must be removed from power and be replaced by a government that will place the interests of the country above all else. What we do not agree with is a violent removal of any government. South Africa is a constitutional democracy. The people of our country are eagerly waiting for the 2024 general election where, for the first time since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the ANC is likely to fall way below 50%. We are steadfast in our belief that the ANC must be removed from power in a free, fair, transparent and credible election. That is where the EFF should be focusing its energies instead of seeking to further distabilise the country.