‘Let’s avoid unnecessary conflict’: Mbeki calls on EFF to protest peacefully during national shutdown
The former statesman has urged the EFF to stick to its promise to demonstrate within the confines of the law on Monday.
Picture File: Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Masi Losi
Former president Thabo Mbeki has weighed in on the Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) planned national shutdown, calling on the party and its supporters to demonstrate peacefully on Monday.
EFF national shutdown
The EFF and other organisations are planning to take to the streets in a nationwide shutdown against President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s leadership of the country, load shedding and crime, among other issues.
The protest action has raised concerns over the repeat of the deadly 2021 July civil unrest that resulted in the destruction of public and private property as well as the looting of stores and shopping centres.
‘SA doesn’t need violence’
“I watched a little bit when Julius [Malema] talked about the demonstrations yesterday [Wednesday] and he made the commitment that they don’t want violence, and that if there is any violence that happens, it would have been provoked by somebody else.
“I think that the common commitment by the organisers and the rest of the country is correct. By all means, I think people should demonstrate if they want to demonstrate on whatever the issue, but let us avoid this unnecessary conflict. The country doesn’t need it,” Mbeki told SABC News.
The former statesman made the remarks on Thursday in Tshwane, on the sidelines of an event organised by the Thabo Mbeki African School of Public and International Affairs at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
Ministers in government’s security cluster briefed the media on Thursday in Tshwane, on security measures ahead of Monday’s planned national shutdown.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said Monday will be “business as usual” and gave assurances that all citizens and their property would be protected.
“We also want to caution against the spreading of messages of fear, intimidation or inflammatory statements that could incite violence. This is a criminal offence.
“We are aware of many social media accounts claiming that hundreds and thousands of followers are being mobilised to support the protest,” said Cele.
Ramaphosa warns EFF
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned the EFF and other protestors that anarchy will not be tolerated during their shutdown march and that law enforcement officials will defend the people of South Africa.
Ramaphosa said the only way to get him out of office and power is through a vote.
“Our politics is fructuous, we are divided and this is also an issue of going to the elections next year, many parties, when you go to an election, start positioning themselves because they want to win the vote and they will often position themselves in a way which is completely against the governing party.
“South Africa is governed by the rule of law. Regime change can only come about through the vote. It cannot come about through anarchy, unleashing disorder,” said Ramaphosa.
The president was speaking on Thursday at the Union Buildings in Tshwane alongside Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.