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Was the EFF National Shutdown a flop or success?

Mar 22, 2023

Hannah Omarjee |
22 March 2023 | 15:30 CAT
2 min read

Photo Credit: SABC

The EFF claimed that the national shutdown on Monday, 20 March 2023, was the most significant event in the country’s history. Others, including the Presidency, say it was a failure. The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) said it is satisfied with how the integrated law enforcement deployments had exercised their authority in ensuring law and order in the country.

Professor Siphamandla Zondi, a political analyst, said the success or failure of the shutdown depends on what people expect a shutdown to achieve. He added that the shutdown should be deemed ‘national’ as it affected all cities of the country, gained the entire state’s attention and is still part of the discussion.

Through this shutdown, the EFF hoped to gain popularity, put the ANC on the back foot and voice its issues with the country’s psyche.

Zondi said, “If that is what they (the EFF) hoped to do, then it was a resounding success. We tend to quibble about whether it was a success or not a success, based on our perception of what success must mean. We think it must mean large numbers of people.”

The EFF is a small party and can gather in large numbers if supporters meet in one city; however, this shutdown allowed the people to protest wherever they were.

When asked about the EFF’s demand for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s resignation, Zondi said no protest has ever achieved its demands. The demands are meant to up the ante and bring awareness to specific issues. This shutdown triggered the security cluster, reminding them of how they were caught slacking during the July 2021 riots. This time, they decided to overcompensate by going all out and being on high alert. Law enforcement played a positive role in keeping the protest under control.

Zondi believes the EFF knows how to control its supporters, and they know the dangers of being marked as a violent party. He said South Africans should watch the EFF determine if they are ready to govern the country and can garner more supporters in 2024.

Listen to the full interview here.


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