South Africa

SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN

Julius Malema hits back – We will protest, it is our Constitutional right

Julius Malema hits back – We will protest, it is our Constitutional right
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

EFF commander-in-chief, Julius Malema disputed claims that the protest led by the EFF will be violent, but he did warn that it would not be business as usual on Monday, 20 March 2023. 

Despite growing concerns about the possibility of lawlessness spilling over into the planned EFF shutdown, party leader Julius Malema on Wednesday 15 March explained that they have cordially alerted affected stakeholders and businesses about the protest action due to take place on Monday 20 March.

“…We’re not scared, we’re ready for anything on the 20th of March. We will defend the defenceless masses of our people with our bodies and our bodies will be on the streets, all of us, every progress force will put their body on the streets on the 20th of March,” According to Malema.

Speaking during a briefing at the party’s headquarters in the Johannesburg CBD, Malema said that the party had engaged with the South African National Taxi Council, Premier Soccer League and business about the march, planned for the day before the Human Rights Day public holiday.

“Ground Forces of the EFF have been everywhere on the ground, mobilising our people, making them aware as to what is the importance of this National shutdown, and amongst other things was to drop letters in offices, malls, banks and airports to make everyone aware.

“Santaco use those streets every day and therefore it’s only courtesy that we go and inform them and say we know you use this facility on a daily basis but please be aware that this facility will be occupied by a protest.”

 

The protest action was called to pressurise President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign and demand the end to rolling blackouts, as well as bringing to the fore the issues that affect young people. 

“We want to hold the President accountable because he has violated his oath of office and therefore we cannot fold our arms when the country is on the brink of collapse. In particular issues of unemployment, issues of higher education, issues of water and electricity in our communities, the potholes that exist everywhere in our communities, the high levels of crime and gender-based violence and the high level of corruption. 

“The future generation is going to ask us what we have done when the country was faced with so many challenges and the only thing we can do is to raise our voices. We’ve got voices that are protected by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and we will use those voices to raise our concerns,” Malema reiterated. 

The ANC issued a statement on Wednesday raising the alarm about the protest, arguing it was not in the interests of the country and questing whether it  advanced democratic principles. The governing party believes the march is an attempt to “promote lawlessness” and a “feeble attempt to invoke the Arab Spring Revolution mindset”.


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“The right to march and protest is an important right entrenched in our Constitution. Any political party is allowed to march and make its voice heard. However, if such a march advocates anarchy and lawlessness and seeks to undermine the rule of law by infringing on the rights of others, then we must all condemn such a protest.

“The ANC joins South Africans from all walks of life who have condemned this shutdown in the strongest possible terms. These attempts are insurrection and overthrow of a democratically elected President from a party that has failed to garner more than 6% of the national vote and must be exposed for what they are,” according to the ANC.

The DA was the first party to raise concerns about the march and has threatened to take legal action against what they have dubbed the EFF’s “rampant intimidation and threats of violence” ahead of its nationwide shutdown.

Read more in Daily Maverick:A statement from Daily Maverick Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic on EFF congress and important media freedom issues

Last week, the City of Cape Town announced it would be filing an application for an interdict against “any attempts to incite or participate in looting, vandalism and disruption” as part of the shutdown. 

ActionSA also condemned the protest. Party leader Herman Mashaba highlighted the negative effects the march could have on the country’s economy.

“South Africa’s economy is already suffering under a myriad of ANC-induced crises. The last thing South Africans need is the EFF inciting its members to cause further destruction. We also cannot afford to send the message that we are a nation of thugs to the international community at a time when we desperately need to attract foreign investment to grow the economy and create jobs,” Mashaba said. 

In a statement, Santaco Western Cape said it had not been approached by the EFF and “as such Santaco Western Cape will not be participating in the shutdown … We are aware that taxi associations have been approached and it would be up to those associations to decide whether to participate or not,” said the statement. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Colleen Dardagan says:

    It might be a right, but at this time in our history is it ethical or necessary?

  • Miles Japhet says:

    The EFF are nothing but an anarchist party and should be treated as such. It is abundantly clear that Julius and his gang wish to interfere with the rights of all South African citizens in calling for a shut down and all that implies.
    Protest is constitutional but doing it in a manner that infringes on the rights of others is against the law. Law enforcement authorities should arrest those Leaders involved should this occur.
    We live in vain hope.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    ‘EFF cucumber-in-chief, Julius Malema’. There, I fixed your spelling for you.

  • Clare Yeowell says:

    All Malema can do is shout and rant. He has never offered any kind of solution to the problems facing South Africa, and patently doesn’t understand that the democratic process actually allows him to fight his corner, like a civilised human being, in parliament. He and his party is obviously devoid of any ability or will to argue with any sense of intelligence. He may cause a lot of trouble, but in the end he will go the way of all despots, unfortunately at the expense of this beautiful country.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Is it worth commenting on a windbag?

  • Two Wrongs Aint No Right says:

    I still think Malema should not get as much media attention. The EFF has got its existence to thank on threats, blown up by the media.

  • Peter Wanliss says:

    Interesting to plan the protest for the Monday between a weekend and a public holiday. Now the EFF can claim that the people who took a long weekend were part of the stay-away, and those who want to fabricate a long weekend can say they stayed at home (or holiday resort of their choice) for their own safety.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    The Commander-in-Thief, a pompous a……

  • Margaret Jensen says:

    Oh I agree, the EFF have not added any value to our country

  • Mike Waghorn says:

    My view, the ANC needs to placate the EFF to make sure that that come next year’s election, they can form an alliance and continue to rob the country blind. The EFF is aware of this and the opportunity to also rob the country blind is a temptation too good to resist.

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