NEWS

South Africans Are Being Urged To Shut Down The Country on Friday And Take To The Streets

Thousands of people have signed up to a social media campaign for the day of action against corruption.

03/04/2017 10:08 SAST | Updated 06/04/2017 11:55 SAST
Juda Ngwenya / Reuters

A social media campaign calling on South Africans to shut down the country on Friday and take to the streets is being monitored by police.

The campaign, which went viral over the weekend, called on everyone to take part in the national shutdown: "Do not go to work, or to school or do anything unless you're taking to the streets in protest.

"On Friday the 7 April South Africans need to take to the streets in masses... wherever you are, with signs of protest to make our collective voice heard.

"Block highways, stand with your communities, go to political houses, go to prayer meetings, arrange your own marches. Do whatever you can to make your voice heard."

The protest was being organised to protest against corruption and call for President Jacob Zuma to step down, organisers said.

The message ended with the #ZumaMustFall #SouthAfricaMustRise hashtags.

A Facebook event called "The day SA comes to a standstill #sawillrise" was being hosted by the Zuma Must Fall March and We are South Africans and by Sunday night 3300 people had said they would participate.

National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo said the matter was being monitored, reported News24:

The police had taken note of the message circulating on social media and the matter would be monitored by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, national police spokesperson Vish Naidoo told News24.

The organisers said they would be posting updates on where gatherings were happening throughout the country.

The Facebook event page said people should sign up on the We Are South Africans website if they wanted to organise a related protest in their area. "Don't just go out and protest. You are not allowed to. It is illegal and you are not protected. You need a strike permit."

There were some concerns about the movement targeting and giving voice to only middle-class people.

Richard Pithouse, associate professor in politics at Rhodes University, wrote on Facebook: "If NUMSA, the new trade union federation, the Communist Party, Abahlali baseMjondolo, AMCU, the EFF and the anti-Zuma factions in the ANC could form a tactical alliance against Zuma, the Guptas, the party barons in the provinces and the cities, and the local thugs that keep the party in line and people in check, it'd be game on.

"But if it's gonna be 'civil society' - an acutely raced and classed project, and one that bends, relentlessly, towards constituted power, it'll be another farce."