EFF National Shutdown will tilt the South African economy towards recession

Issued by Dr Dion George MP – DA Shadow Minister of Finance
15 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Dion George MP.

Once again, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have resorted to their usual unproductive disruption tactics. Their plan to shut down the country’s economy on March 20th to protest loadshedding and demand the resignation of President Ramaphosa is a clear indication of their preference for chaos over progress and their complete disregard for already struggling SA households.

The call for a national economic shutdown must not be mistaken for a noble cause or a selfless act in service of South Africans. The EFF’s destructive track record speaks for itself. This selfish and dangerous tactic attempt to wreak havoc on the economy and further their political goals must be seen for what it is: a very expensive media stunt that does nothing to resolve the massive national crisis of loadshedding or benefit the well-being of South Africans.

In fact, the stark reality is that even a one-day shutdown of the South African economy would cost us over R 1.2 billion in generated wealth. The longer the shutdown persists, the greater the economic damage, inevitably leading to higher prices for consumers and a reduction in living standards for all. South Africa is already greylisted because of a lack of effort by the security cluster to take effective steps against financial criminals. Another security failure now will send a strong signal that SA is an unreliable and unstable.

The EFF’s mere call for a national shutdown has the potential to send shockwaves through South Africa’s investment landscape. Investors perceive this call as a sign of instability and unpredictability, deterring them from investing in the country. The lack of investment will stifle economic growth and hinder job creation, setting our nation on a dangerous path towards economic recession.

This is the backwards thinking of the EFF – a political party whose ultimate goal was never to create wealth or better the lives of South Africans.

The DA strongly rejects the call for a national shutdown. That is why we have taken several pre-emptive steps to ensure that the safety of South Africans and business are prioritised.

These actions include:

  • Approaching the Court to ensure that the EFF complies with the conditions of permits issued by relevant Municipalities giving permission for peaceful protest.
  • We have sought a Court interdict to ensure that the EFF leadership formally retracts all intimidation letters that they have issued.
  • The DA’s lawyers have drafted a template affidavit that can be used by any business owner who has been intimidated by any EFF representatives, to report such behaviour and press formal charge of intimidation against the leadership of the EFF and its local representatives who act on behalf of the EFF’s national leadership, and to request that the SAPS prevent, combat and investigate any violation of the legislation that regulates demonstrations, gatherings and events in South Africa.
  • The DA has written to Police Minister Bheki Cele to highlight the imminent threat posed to the economy, public and private infrastructure, as well as to the safety of citizens, by the EFF’s planned nationwide shutdown. We have called on Minister Cele to issue a strong statement against the National Shutdown and assuring South Africans that the SAPS and the entire security cluster is on standby to respond to violence.
  • We have written to President Ramaphosa asking him to issue a stern pre-emptive warning that no violence, vandalism or intimidation will be tolerated, and that any such behaviour will meet the full force of the law.
  • The DA has resolved to press charges against the EFF and hold them personally liable for any damage done to person, property, lives and livelihoods perpetrated during their so-called shutdown.

We cannot afford to entertain reckless calls for a national shutdown. Such a move would have catastrophic economic consequences, unleashing a domino effect of severe job losses, business closures, and devastating blows to our most vulnerable citizens. The DA will not stand idly by as the EFF plays political games with the livelihoods of our people.