Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has reportedly criticised the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for “inciting violence” ahead of its planned national shutdown on March 20 to protest the ongoing load shedding and call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down.
The EFF has been cautioning business owners to close their businesses to avoid the risk of looting on the day.
With just a few days left to the national shutdown, party members with loud speakers reportedly warned business owners in townships to close their businesses on the day, News24. reported.
“We are saying to you close down all your businesses to avoid the looting. Close down all your shops to avoid the looting. Close down all your factories to avoid the lootings.
“Close down everything; nothing will be operating on that day; we are avoiding the looting. So, we are saying to you, come and join the march, my brother; come and join the march, my sister,” the speaker is heard saying, according to the report.
ALSO READ | ‘Don’t try that nonsense in Cape Town,’ Mayor Hill-Lewis warns EFF
The report said the EFF has also been going door to door, handing pamphlets and mobilising on the back of bakkies across the country to gather people for the national shutdown.
But DA MP Natasha Mazzone said businesses cannot afford to go a day without economic activity, Eye Witness News reported.
She said the EFF has a responsibility to make sure their demonstration is safe for everyone and does not get overtaken by criminal elements.
“If ever we needed more proof of the fascist agenda, it’s this kind of faux-terrorism and Stalin-grade media propaganda. The Department of State Security must now come out and inform the South African public of the plans they are putting in place to keep our cities, people, farms, and infrastructure safe from this kind of thuggery,” the report quoted her as saying.
Meanwhile, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said on Friday that Cape Town will be “open for business as usual” on the day.
“…Quite a few business owners and employers have been in touch about the rumours of a so-called national shutdown on 20 March. Let me say, in Cape Town, it will be business as usual.
“We will do what it takes to make sure kids get to school on time, that workers can get to work, that our economy can keep running.
I’ve heard of a so-called “shutdown” planned for 20 March across SA.
Cape Town is focused on growing the economy to get more people into jobs & will not allow violence to disrupt this.
We will be open for business as usual. Those responsible for violence will be arrested. pic.twitter.com/bRvRrrIpYC
— Geordin Hill-Lewis (@geordinhl) March 10, 2023
“To those of you who think it is a good idea to organise a national shutdown – our economy is already brought to its knees by load shedding, corruption and so much else. What you are doing is hurting our economy, hurting businesses, and hurting workers even more, exactly the opposite of what you claim to stand for.
“Don’t be stupid, don’t organise a national shutdown and don’t try that nonsense in Cape Town,” said Hill-Lewis.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu