EFF’s Planned Economic Shutdown is Another Self-Serving Tactic That Will Harm Small Business Owners and Ordinary South Africans

Issued by Jan de Villiers MP – DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development
16 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbite by Jan de Villiers MP.

The DA unequivocally rejects the EFF’s dangerous tactics of intimidation and their reckless call for a so-called “National Shutdown” which threatens to plunge our country into chaos. The EFF’s flagrant noncompliance with legal norms and their brazen attempts to stoke fear and violence in pursuit of their political objectives is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

The EFF’s intimidation tactics, which include threatening businesses with looting unless they comply with the party’s demands to close up shop, are a clear demonstration of the party’s complete disregard for the rule of law and their willingness to resort to violent means to achieve their objectives. This kind of behaviour is not only deeply concerning but also completely unacceptable in a democratic society.

The DA will stand up against the EFF’s destructive agenda. We will not be cowed by their threats and intimidation.

The EFF’s reckless and irresponsible conduct is a ticking time bomb that could ignite widespread chaos and destruction. With the devastating impact of the 2021 riots still fresh in our minds, it is unconscionable that the EFF would engage in behaviour that risks a repeat of such catastrophic events. Their actions are not only a threat to public safety and the rule of law but also to the livelihoods of countless individuals. The cost of ensuing potential unrest is immeasurable, as seen in the R70 billion loss suffered by small businesses in eThekwini alone during the 2021 riots.

The EFF claims to represent the interests of the people, yet their latest call for a nationwide shutdown threatens to cripple the very backbone of South Africa’s economy: the small business sector. The cost of such an action would be catastrophic. Just as people have the right to protest, they also have the right to not protest, the right to not associate with the protesting organisation, and the right to go to school or to work or to operate a business

In the face of the EFF’s threats to disrupt public life and businesses, it is essential that our government is fully equipped to handle these protests and protect the rights and freedoms of small business owners. The EFF’s recklessness demonstrate a blatant disregard for the wellbeing of South Africans and the stability of our economy. We must send a strong message that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and that our government is prepared to act swiftly and decisively to protect our citizens. We have taken pre-emptive steps to prioritize the safety of South Africans and businesses, and we will not hesitate to take further action to ensure their protection.

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.

As a political party committed to the prosperity of all South Africans, the DA will not stand idly by as the EFF plays political games with the livelihoods of our people. We will fight tooth and nail to protect our economy and the rights and freedoms of our citizens from their dangerous agenda.

We will not allow the EFF to derail the progress we have made towards building a better South Africa.