Friday’s ‘total shutdown’ protests won’t be the last‚ organisers warn

Organisers have promised that rolling mass action will follow Friday’s “total shutdown” protests in some Gauteng areas where most residents are coloured people.

The action was part of a broader campaign against‚ among other issues‚ the “socioeconomic exclusion of coloureds”‚ according to the Gauteng Shut-Down Co-ordinating Committee (GSCC)‚ which will see them take their battle to venues such as the Union Buildings and the JSE.

Committee member Anthony Williams said Friday’s protests were the beginning of a series of actions. The effect of the protest was felt mainly in Ennerdale‚ in south Johannesburg‚ where burning tyres were used to barricade roads.

“It started … in Ennerdale‚ where people have been in the streets from as early as 2am‚” Williams said. “People were shot with rubber bullets and dispersed … in Eldorado Park‚ but managed to get back and blockaded the Golden Highway and Main Road at around 1pm today.

“There was low turn up in Noordgesig‚ while [a] nice‚ solid [turnout] was seen in Westbury‚ despite the heavy police presence. For us‚ this was a success for a launch of the people’s revolution.”

He said their programme would go on “until President Cyril Ramaphosa comes to the table”‚ adding that they “don’t want piecemeal deals but something substantive and meaningful for our people”.

The organisers described the GSCC as a “progressive collective voice” that was “not politically aligned”. It was established to “force the government to address”‚ among other things:

  • The socioeconomic exclusion of those people classified coloured;
  • The oppressive structural neoliberal economic system;
  • The sustained inequality and marginalisation of those classified coloured;
  • The mindless racial categorisation of all South Africans and hold the state to account for the conscious exclusionary employment equity‚ affirmative action‚ broad-base black economic empowerment policies; and
  • The return of the land to the people.

“We call on all our people to support the shutdown because it hopes to address 24 years plus of economic exclusion and marginalisation. Nobody in South Africa should endure what the so-called coloured people experienced in full view of the world‚” read a GSCC statement released on Friday.

“We call on the state‚ and particularly the president‚ to be responsive and assist the so-called coloured people to regain respectability and their rightful place in the country.”

Williams said the committee were working with some groups in the Western Cape to advance their campaign.

“You will see us all over the place. We have a strategic plan designed and we’re having a post-mortem on Sunday after which announcement will be made on what’s next and where‚” he said.

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