‘No amount of intimidation will deter the shutdown’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Free State says no amount of intimidation will deter their planned shutdown. They allege that police paid their leaders an unofficial visit. The party says apartheid tactics of intimidation will not work.

Large contingents of police have been deployed across the province. The main focus is on the Mangaung Metro, and the Matjhabeng, Dihlabeng and Metsimaholo municipalities, where a lot of action is expected.

Meanwhile, there are mixed views on the EFF’s planned national shutdown.

“I don’t believe in that shutdown because there’s no reason for that shutdown. They say Cyril must step down; they say there’s no service delivery. Why should Cyril step down?” asks a resident.

“No, I’m not joining the shutdown. For me, I don’t see a reason. For EFF, on my side, it’s sabotage,” says another resident.

“I don’t understand what’s happening tomorrow. I just hear shutdown. What is shutdown? people have lost jobs,” says another resident.

“This shutdown tomorrow, I support 100% because in South Africa we don’t have life,” another resident explains.

“Definitely the shutdown is going to take over. I support it, because we are going to have bread on the table at the end of the day as unemployed people of South Africa,” a resident says.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) in the province has urged workers to participate in the shutdown. It says the demands that the EFF is putting forward are also those of the working class.

“We have mobilised workers. We were on the ground, making sure that each and every worker understands why we took a decision that we must embark on this national shutdown. We have a certificate that actually protects workers, which is a Section 77 certificate,” says Saftu Free State’s Felicity Lekhethe.

Members of the EFF are already on the ground.

“You can’t go to our people’s houses and request tyres as if we are tyre manufactures. We are very angry. It is provocative in its own nature. So, we are requesting police to desist from doing that and we are encouraging fighters to flock the streets and everyone who feels actually that they need to do that,” says EFF Free State Chairperson Mapheule Liphoko.

The provincial government has been in talks with business chambers, taxi associations and bus companies that have confirmed they will be operating on Monday.

“We urge all members of the public to work closely with the police in identifying those that are intent on destroying public infrastructure and (causing) harm upon any person. We reiterate that our law enforcement authorities will deal decisively with any agent provocateur that acts against the law,” says Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been deployed at national key points in the province.

National Shutdown | Activist Bongani Mahlangu unpacks the challenges faced by South Africans: