#NationalShutdown could impact SA’s ‘fragile economy’, says government

SOCIAL media has been ablaze with messages inciting a countrywide shutdown on Friday, 7 April – to protest against President Jacob Zuma.

The flurry of messages come as a response to the President’s unexpected cabinet reshuffle on Thursday last week, during which finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, was axed.

The President’s decision has stirred massive public outrage, with many now calling for the ANC leader to step down. The call has gained momentum since the county had been downgraded to junk status on Monday.

One of the messages doing the rounds on social media reads: ‘We are meeting at 11am at North Beach in front of Joe Cools on Friday for the Durban leg of walk for a corruption free South Africa. We will walk to Durban City Hall and hand over a petition signed by us all asking for Zuma to stand down. The time is here to stand together as one Durban of all races to stand up and say no we will not sit by and watch our country get sold to the Guptas for scrap tips by Zuma. Please ALL share!’

The Democratic Alliance announced earlier today that it would be leading a march on Friday, in support of the ‘ever-growing movement to remove Jacob Zuma’.

“This is not a party political matter. It is a matter of urgent national importance, which affects all of us as South Africans, and thus transcends party politics”, read the post.

In the interests of the ever-growing movement to remove Jacob Zuma, we have taken a decision to lead a March for Change,…

Posted by DA KZN on Tuesday, 4 April 2017

However, the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said such a shutdown could ‘have unexpected consequences especially for the country’s fragile economy, business and communities’.

In a statement released earlier today the government said it expected Friday to be a ‘normal working day’ – despite the call for a countrywide shutdown.

Donald Liphoko, department’s acting Director General said while the public does have the democratic right to peaceful protests, the government could not support any acts of civil disobedience.

“When citizens take to the streets illegally, we often witness violence, destruction of property and lawlessness. These illegal protests do not possess the characteristics of strengthening democracy. Those found guilty of any form of violence will face the might of the law,” said Liphoko.

The department said the social media messages are not only tarnishing the image of South Africa, but are also creating an ‘impression of disorder and fear in communities’.

Civil society organisations, business and the public have been encouraged to work with government in strengthening the country’s democracy.

According to the government, the social media messages are not only tarnishing the image of South Africa, but are also creating an ‘impression of disorder and fear in communities’.

 

Twitter responds to the #NationalShutdown movement:

https://twitter.com/LeratoRSA/status/848611230520676352

 

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