Police presence has been heightened at Church Square in Pretoria where the EFF and various organisations are converging.
The square precinct continues to see an influx of members joining in the march. The PAC, ATM and ARETA led by Carl Niehaus and the trade union federation SAFTU are some of the organisations which have joined the protests.
The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has appealed to the crowd to remain disciplined.
“There are no commuters because our people have responded positively to the call that it’s a stay-away. Now the police have been shooting people everywhere for demonstrations. They’ve been shooting people who are demonstrating peacefully, unarmed South Africans. So it’s a very peaceful thing, we remain by the square. We don’t get provoked by the uniform.”
Meanwhile, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) says today’s national shutdown led by the EFF has so far been a success.
SAFTU is among the organisation supporting the shutdown and has joined demonstrations at Church Square in Pretoria.
SAFTU spokesperson Trevor Shaku says, “For me, this has been a success. Shops are closed. Various towns are not operational. If any form of operation would be 5-10% of the operation, and I mean in terms of economy. In the city alone, if you walk through the streets you’ll realise that indeed many shops have closed. A lot of people pitched and several comrades in townships across PTA have closed streets, so this in my view is indeed a success.”
The chairperson of the PAC, Sbusiso Xaba says the closure of business today as a result of the national shutdown should be viewed as support for the action and not out of fear.
Some businesses in the Pretoria CBD have closed today, with minimal public transport on the streets.
Xaba says small businesses are supporting the shutdown as they are the most affected by load shedding.
“That’s propaganda. People are not afraid. People support the call for the national shutdown. They support the issues at hand. Small businesses are the most affected by electricity. Most of them are closing down because most small businesses sell perishable and perishables are destroyed by electricity, therefore they cannot stand aside when the issues of electricity are on the table. They lose more money out of the load shedding than they lose out of the shutdown.”
CIC @Julius_S_Malema with groundforces at church square, Tshwane for a peaceful demonstration
Activists have joined the call by the EFF to raise their voice to show their frustrations against the failing government led by the incompetent President Ramaphosa #NationalShutdown pic.twitter.com/HL8JMQnoMU
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) March 20, 2023
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