Cabinet says it will ensure South Africans' lives are not disrupted during planned shutdown

If the EFF wants to govern, it must contest the elections next year, says minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.
If the EFF wants to govern, it must contest the elections next year, says minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/ File photo

The EFF is trying to force a regime change through illegal means through its planned protest.

This is the view of the cabinet, which says it is prepared to ensure the lives of South Africans are not disrupted by the protest action on Monday.

The EFF is on Monday planning a “nationwide shutdown” over the electricity crisis and its demand that President Cyril Ramaphosa step down.

Minister in the presidency and cabinet spokesperson Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said if the EFF wants to govern, it must contest the elections next year.

“The only demand which is the basis of this protest action is the plan to remove President Ramaphosa from office through unconstitutional means,” said Ntshavheni.

“We want to inform all that regime change through unconstitutional means will not happen in South Africa. Anyone with ambitions to govern this country must wait to contest the 2024 general elections.”

Ntshavheni said the might of the law will be used against those who plan to cause disruption and disturbances in the country.

She was briefing the media alongside the justice, crime prevention and security cluster JCPS ministers who gave updates on preparations for the shutdown.

Minister of defence Thandi Modise said the military was on standby should the need for their deployment arise.

She also said there would be heightened focus on people advocating for lawlessness through social media.

The government was caught unaware by social media instigators during the 2021 July unrest and has vowed to approach the platform differently this time.

“If there is a weakness in the security cluster it is that for a long time we have allowed people to use social media to plan, to intimidate and we have not followed up,” said Modise.

“We want to assure you that this time we will not let it go. That is a weakness that we will accept, that is a weakness that we are in a process of remedying.”

Minister of police Bheki Cele said Monday would be business as usual as he promised law enforcement officials would be deployed across the country to protect South Africans and their businesses.

“We want to assure everyone in the country that March 20 will be a normal business day. We want to reiterate to our international community that contrary to the pronouncements by those advocating for any disruption, all ports of entry — land, sea and air — will be operational,” said Cele.

“Measures have been put in place to ensure that everyone who wants to go to work, travel for leisure and conduct business on this day does so in a safe and secure environment. Law enforcement officers will be out in their numbers to protect them, while enforcing the law.”

Ntshavheni, who also heads the state security agency, said intelligence operatives were on top of information-gathering around the planned shutdown.


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