Gauteng residents face further potential economic hardship if threats to continue with a provincial wide shutdown materialises. Ordinary Gauteng residents are dependent on transport all over the province to access economic opportunities, and anything hampering their free flow can cause them to lose income and jobs.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province to take immediate action against any individuals or groups who attempt to shutdown parts of Gauteng, including blocking of roads and forcibly preventing any businesses from operating. Absolutely no one has the right to hamper or prevent the movement of any other individual from going about their daily lives and minding their own business.
Several serious threats from those who identify as supporters of Jacob Zuma have emerged across social media in the last 24 hours, calling on other supporters of the former President to take the criminal protest action currently underway in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to many parts of Gauteng. There have already been attempts by individuals to block the movement of vehicles on the East Rand this morning.
One particular voice note that is spreading across social media, calls on protestors to cause riots, chaos and shutdowns in ‘strategic places where white supremacists live’. Organisers of these criminal events are rallying supporters with highly inflammatory racial rhetoric to lend credibility to the theory that Jacob Zuma is being unfairly prosecuted and imprisoned. These actions totally violate the spirit of the Constitution and compromise the harmony of a multi-racial society.
The hard lockdowns of the past year have caused profound damage for businesses and South Africans who have lost their jobs. Shutdowns by so-called ‘radical forces’ will not be tolerated and should not be allowed to hamper any movement of the economy that is allowed under level 4 lockdown.
Decisive action must be taken by Minister of Police Bheki Cele, and MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to ensure Gauteng does not become a repeat of the absolute hypocrisy of government in KZN, where several lockdown restrictions have been broken with impunity, while law-abiding South Africans continue to get unfairly punished by losing their jobs and businesses because of the latest lockdown.