Johannesburg, South Africa – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party has rejected the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) ahead of the National Shutdown protest scheduled for March 20, 2023.
In a statement released on Sunday, March 19, the EFF accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of being a dictator and using the army to suppress peaceful protests against his failed presidency. The party called on South Africans to resist the tyranny of President Ramaphosa and join the National Shutdown protest in large numbers.
“The deployment of the army to suppress the Constitutional right to protest means we have returned to the dark days of Apartheid. The current deployment of the army and law enforcement agencies has surpassed that of the Apartheid regime in the 1980s during the State of Emergency, meaning that Ramaphosa has declared war on the people of South Africa,” the statement read.
The EFF has a history of supporting large-scale protests and has been critical of the government’s response to social and economic issues in South Africa. The National Shutdown protest calls for the resignation of President Ramaphosa and has been organized in response to high levels of unemployment, poverty, and inequality in the country.
The EFF statement has been met with mixed reactions from South Africans. Some have expressed support for the party’s call to resist what they see as an oppressive government, while others have criticized the use of inflammatory language and accused the party of exploiting people’s fears and frustrations for political gain.
The government has defended the deployment of the SANDF, emphasizing that it is a necessary measure to maintain law and order during the planned protest. The government has also called on all South Africans to engage in constructive dialogue and work together towards finding solutions to the country’s challenges.
As the protest date approaches, tensions are high, and many are hoping for a peaceful and constructive engagement between the government and the protesters. The international community is closely monitoring the situation, and there are concerns about the potential for violence and human rights violations.