EFF leader Julius Malema called for a national shutdown protest on Monday March 20. The protest called for an end to load shedding and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s resignation because they say the ANC government has failed to provide a decent life for all South Africans.
A number of businesses across the country feared for their safety and closed doors even though the EFF said the protest would be peaceful.
They urged South Africans not to work and to instead join the march to bring the country to a standatill but many did not heed their call.
Vukani took to the streets of Khayelitsha and Mfuleni to assess the impact of the march and did not see any groups or placards. However, we asked people their opinions on the march.
Siphamandla Zenzile believes the shutdown will put pressure on the president and government to provide quality services. He said the unemployment rate is very high and is getting worse while the country is still battling to find ways to end load shedding.
He said the march comes at a time when everyone is “crying and hoping that the government speeds up its sluggish service delivery speed”.
He said gone were the days when if you had a qualification you knew it wouldn’t be long before you got a job but these days being educated almost meant nothing as there are thousands of graduates who are looking for jobs and some have even stopped looking.
“I feel that as young people we are not cared for by the current leadership. I think for far too long, we have kept quiet about the state of the country. I mean young people are the ones who are unemployed mostly even though they cause the majority of the country’s population. We live under very difficult and hard times and we need to air our frustrations. If you look closely businesses are closing day in and out while others are retrenching due to load shedding. I strongly feel that our government is not doing enough to better lives and I really appreciate what the EFF has done,” he said.
Yoliswa Gwebushe feels sad about the march because as ordinary people do not benefit and the marches are for political interests.
She said those leading the marches are not really affected by load shedding because they have means to provide for themselves and their families.
She said some who did not go to work will suffer as they are not going to get paid for the day but those leading the march will get their full salaries.
“I don’t think calling for the president to resign will change anything. I think it is time as South Africans we vote for a different party and maybe things will change,” she said.
Babalwa Mzobe thinks that the shutdown idea was great because it showed that people are frustrated.
She said load sheding is the country’s biggest problem and she was surprised that over the weekend, after EFF announced they will be marching, there was no load shedding.
Siyabulela Nonyongo fully supports the shutdown and said a number of South Africans were unemployed while most jobs were taken by foreigners.
He said it was time that some one takes a stand against the “ruthless” government “who are careless about the people who put them in power”.
“Bhuti I have dozens of certificates and a drivers’s licence and I just renewed my PDP, yet I’m still unemployed,” he said.
“This government promised to double the monthly R350 grant but instead they stopped it. What does that tell you about this government? They are bunch of liars who only care about themselves and nothing more. I’m not an EFF member but I applaud Julius for this stance,” he said.