Civil society organisations have spoken out against the National Shutdown, warning that it could infringe on citizens’ constitutional rights.

EFF national shutdown

AUGUST 08, 2017. Thousands of protesters who were demonstrating against the government and President Zuma in Pretoria, South Africa. The demonstrators marched from Church Square to the Union Buildings, which is the office of President Zuma. Hundreds of protests took place all over South Africa in anticipation of the upcoming ‘motion of no confidence’ vote in Parliament today which could see current President Jacob Zuma removed from power. Pitcure: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE/GroundUp

South African civil society organisations have announced their opposition to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) planned National Shutdown on Monday, 20 March. In a joint statement, the groups said the proposed forced shutdown would infringe on the Constitutional rights of citizens.

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‘Subtle forms of intimidation’

The statement said every person in the country has the Constitutional right to choice, association, movement, safety, and freedom of expression, and any attempt to prevent those who do not support the National Shutdown from going about their lives would infringe on their rights.

The organisations criticised the EFF, saying the party was guilty of “subtle forms of intimidation” by insisting roads would be shut, and trains, trucks and buses would not move, and hinting that businesses operating on Monday could be looted.

Law enforcement urged to protect citizens’ rights during EFF’s National Shutdown

“We call on law enforcement to act against any form of intimidation and violence that may unfold before, during and after the shutdown. Law enforcement must ensure that highways are not blocked, and the rights of the ordinary public are protected.

“We don’t want to hear after the fact from the state’s security cluster that they were caught unawares, as had been the case in July 2021. We hope that the relevant ministries and state institutions are well prepared to ensure that law and order is maintained,” read the statement.

The organisations that oppose the National Shutdown are:

  • #UniteBehind
  • #StandUpSA
  • Accountability Lab South Africa
  • Active Citizens Movement
  • Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
  • Anglican Church
  • Asakhe Foundation
  • Botsotso
  • Cape Town Ulama Board
  • Centre for Good Governance and Social Justice
  • Civic Movement for Change NPC
  • Congress of Business Economics
  • Community Action Committee and Strikers Patrol Group
  • Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC)
  • Defend our Democracy
  • Gordon’s Bay Islamic Society
  • Helen Suzman Foundation
  • Imsimbi
  • June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation
  • LenzPolitics
  • Lombard Insurance Company
  • Legal Resources Centre
  • National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB)
  • National Foundations Dialogue Initiative (NFDI)
  • Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA)
  • Phoenix Ubuntu Group
  • Phoenix Settlement Trust and Gandhi Development Trust
  • Progressive Tamil Movement
  • Solidarity
  • Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)
  • Right to Know Campaign
  • South African Christian Leaders Initiative (SACLI)
  • South African Conversations
  • South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID)
  • Strategic Dialogue Group
  • SynNovation Solutions
  • The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA)
  • Women’s Cultural Group