National Shutdown: South Africa’s Predicament Calls For Adults In The Room

GOOD Statement by Brett Herron,
GOOD Secretary-General & Member of Parliament

17 March 2023

South Africa is in dire need of responsible and credible leadership.

A sense of hopelessness pervades the nation which, to many, feels on the brink of chaos and collapse.

In such a climate, politicians have a duty to rise above the low-hanging fruit of exploiting citizens’ frustration and desperation for narrow political ends.

The incendiary and reactionary positions adopted across political benches ahead of the so-called national shut down are of no benefit to the people or the nation.

The EFF has the right to take to the streets on Monday to demand the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa and protest against load-shedding and inequality.

Nearly three decades after apartheid, South Africa ranks among the most unequal countries on earth. Loadshedding is re-entrenching many of those historically excluded from the economy in the cycle of poverty.

In this context, people’s desire to take their demands for action to the streets is both understandable and constitutional.

But the calls on businesses to shut down – coupled with social media driven threats to key points including airports, and of looting and violence – are abhorrent and unconstitutional.

Those posting the messages include people identifying as EFF members and people identified as having supported the July 2021 looting and killing frenzy in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

EFF leader Julius Malema has the right to call his supporters to the streets, but he also has a responsibility to call on those participating in the march to do so peacefully, and without threatening people, businesses and the economy.

He does not have the right that the COGTA Minister had under Covid to declare a national lockdown.

The DA should sit down. In its eagerness to use the shutdown to raise its profile and attract donations it is hardening societal divisions – besides playing the role of the shutdown’s chief advertising agency. It is not helping the country.

The police must maintain calm heads and assist demonstrators to express themselves within the framework of the law.

No number of marches or high-profile races to court will bring about the change South Africa desperately needs.

It is said that in a democracy people get the government they deserve. The GOOD Party calls on people to prepare to participate in next year’s election, because that is the only mechanism to bring meaningful change to the beloved country.

Media Enquiries:

Brett Herron, GOOD Secretary-General & Member of Parliament
Cell: 0825183264

Janke Tolmay, GOOD Media Manager
Cell: 0733671223