#NationalShutDown South Africa: President Ramaphosa’s democratic reaction


Opposition leader of the Economic Feedom Fighters, Hon. Julius Malema took the crown for having organized arguably “the biggest protest in the history of South Africa”

In light of a planned national strike action that erupted on Sunday night in Johannesburg and continued throughout Monday, South African President Ramaphosa reacted by issuing a statement in support of peaceful demonstrations. On the other hand, he emphasized the government’s clear intolerance for rioting, which has been a growing characteristic of the country’s civil actions in recent years.

The #NationalShutDown protest happened at a time when there are growing calls against the rising cost of living stagnant wages, rampant load-shedding, and unemployment which opponents are pointing out as signs of a failing economy caused by poor governance. According to some unverified videos circulated on social media police were dispersing gathering crowds with teargas as the civil action was off to a rocky start in some pockets. Tension was in the air with most small businesses closed for the day, and major cities went back to covid-era traffic. Heavy military police presence was reported in Johannesburg and Pretoria while social media was ablaze with the latest displays of keyboard democracy.

The main highlight of Monday’s #NationalShutDown was the huge crowds that flowed on the streets of Pretoria in blood red. Opposition leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Hon. Julius Malema took the crown for having organized arguably “the biggest protest in the history of South Africa”, according to analysts. The EFF party has been campaigning for the resignation of President Ramaphosa, and most recently, the end to load shedding which has worsened the economic situation of citizens.

In an aftermath statement issued in a newsletter on Human Rights Day in South Africa, the embattled president not only reminded citizens of their constitutional rights, which include protesting, but also to safeguard their freedom and their guaranteed rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

The Commander in Chief of the armed forces having deployed over 3 thousand soldiers across the country, defended the move saying, “the right to protest does not supersede the rights of those who choose not to demonstrate”. Reiterating the Government’s no-tolerance approach to lawlessness, President Ramaphosa demanded that demonstrations should be peaceful. “The protection of the rights of others is sacrosanct,” said President Ramaphosa.

He further promised that government will always have measures in place to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected. Meanwhile, critics have called for the same display of civil protection and order not only when politics is involved but in day-to-day life as crime is a Human Rights concern in South Africa.

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