Tshwane Total Shutdown protestors accuse government of sabotaging march

Marchers were expected to gather at the old Putco depot and march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Marchers were expected to gather at the old Putco depot and march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto

Leaders of the Tshwane Total Shutdown have blamed the government of sabotage after their march failed to get off the ground. 

An underwhelming number of residents gathered at the old Putco bus depot as part of a march. 

Hundreds of residents were expected to gather at Marabastad as they protest against service delivery issues including water and electricity, potholes, the lack of regulation into informal trading and high rental costs. 

Makgaka Lekganyane, one of the organisers, said they had anticipated a large number of marchers despite there being less than 50 people gathered at Marabastad. 

“We are going to march to the Union Buildings but we are waiting for more buses to come and more people join us,” Lekganyane said. 

Lekganyane claimed to have been sabotaged by the government which prevented their buses from reaching the meeting point. 

“Somebody said we are going to burn the buses and that’s why some of the buses didn’t bring people here and the reason why the two that were here left us stranded here,” he said. 

“There’s an issue of sabotage and that’s why we haven’t had a major turnout. The government is portraying us as animals and that’s why we have a low turnout.” 

Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said the march was illegal to begin with and that’s why the application to march in the city was refused. 

“One of the reasons this march is illegal is because they didn’t liaise with the presidency for someone to accept their memorandum,” Mahamba said. 

He said there were no disruptions around Tshwane but there was a minor incident in Winterveld where a group of about 20 people attempted to block the roads.

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