Blow to EFF’s Western Cape ‘shutdown’ after ANC and two other bodies pull out
At the eleventh hour, the ANC and two other organisations pulled out of participating in the EFF’s protest in Cape Town on Monday, saying they didn’t support calls for a shutdown or the EFF’s claims that it organised the event.
The EFF’s planned protest in Cape Town on Monday, 2 October, which the party has referred to as a “shutdown”, suffered a significant setback when three organisations withdrew their support.
The ANC in the Western Cape, as well as civic groups the South African National Civic Organisation and the People’s Movement for Change (PMC), announced at the eleventh hour that they would not participate in the protest for various reasons, including that it had been termed a “shutdown” and that the EFF had claimed to be leading the demonstration.
The organisations pulled out minutes before the multiparty press briefing was due to begin on Sunday to update the public about the protests.
“It was always our position that this was a multiparty march against the unlawful impoundment of taxis. It was never intended to be a shutdown led by one political party,” said ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Neville Delport.
“The mixed messages emanating as late as this morning in the media have convinced us that it would be unwise to participate. We are opposed to any form of shutdown.”
Delport was referring to an SABC interview with EFF Western Cape leader Unathi Ntame, in which he repeatedly referred to the demonstration as an EFF-led march.
“We support a peaceful resolution of the issues facing the minibus taxi industry. Finally, the ANC calls on our members not to participate, and [to] continue with their normal activities tomorrow,” Delport said.
Siya Nyeka from the PMC said the EFF was pushing for a shutdown, which the PMC did not support.
“After this morning’s multiparty discussion and EFF insistence on pushing for a shutdown, the PMC decided to withdraw [from] the event on Monday. We do not support political grandstanding on such a serious matter of the plight of taxi owners and employees in this sector,” Nyeka said.
Another issue for the ANC was the more than 10km that protesters would have to walk from the Vangate Field to Cape Town’s Ndabeni Municipal Complex.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Taxi association distances itself from EFF’s planned Western Cape ‘shutdown’ on Monday
On posters calling for its “provincial shutdown”, the EFF wrote, “The days of the DA-led City of Cape Town draconian rule and racism are OVER.”
The demonstration will be about what the party calls “unjust taxi impoundments”, along with issues of service delivery, high unemployment, racism, high electricity tariffs and load shedding.
In calling the protest a shutdown, the EFF sent shivers down the spine of many Cape Town residents.
In August, the province experienced a taxi strike that left commuters stranded for days and prevented many learners from going to school. Five people died in violence associated with the strike.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Western Cape taxi strike updates
The EFF’s Ntame accused the ANC of dishonesty over its reason for pulling out from the protest.
“They received an instruction to pull out,” he said. “Now they are looking for any reason to justify the instruction they were given. The reason we say it’s an EFF march is because it is the EFF that applied for a permit at the City of Cape Town to demonstrate to Ndabeni.”
He said all was in order for Monday and they would not be deterred by the withdrawal of the organisations. It is believed that the party’s national secretary-general, Marshall Dlamini, will take part in the protest.
Daily Maverick has established that taxi operators who want to join the protest have been informed that they can start with normal operations and after 8am make their way to the protest starting point.
Santaco Western Cape chairperson Mandla Hermanus reiterated that the taxi organisation was not connected with the protest, but some of its operators would participate.
Among the conditions of the taxi agreement signed by Santaco and local government authorities after the August strike is that if Santaco wanted to strike, it would give at least 36 hours’ notice.
“We have various political party affiliations within Santaco and as such, some of our members will be participating in a peaceful march, but our operations will continue as normal,” Hermanus said. DM