Western Cape High Court Interdicts EFF ‘Shutdown’, Joburg Reserves Ruling

Cape Town – The Western Cape High Court has granted an interdict to prevent further attempts to incite violence as part of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) “national shutdown” planned for Monday, (20 March 2023).

The Western Cape government joined the City of Cape Town’s legal bid to secure an interdict to prevent unlawful protests, incitement to violence and intimidation, and damage to property.

Premier Alan Winde on Friday said he welcomed the interdict granted by the Western Cape High Court to prevent further attempts to incite violence as part of the EFF “national shutdown”.

The EFF, joined by other organisations that include the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), say they are protesting on Monday to, among other things, end load-shedding and press for President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign.

SAFTU says the national shutdown planned for Monday will send a strong message to the government that South Africans will no longer stand by as the country deteriorates.

However, the Western Cape said its intervention was aimed specifically at extending the interdict beyond Cape Town’s municipal boundaries to the whole of the Western Cape province.

Commenting further on the interdict, Premier Winde said, “I hope this interdict sends a clear, unambiguous message to anyone intent on shutting down our province and the country next Monday.

“I trust that all aspects of the interdict will be adhered to. Those who proceed with intimidating residents who want to go to work on Monday must face the consequences of their actions.

“Apart from preventing anarchy, today’s legal action is also about supporting members of the public who want to work. Workers who are prevented from going to work stand to lose a day’s wages, especially temporary and contract staff.

“The calls for a shutdown are callous and against workers.”

The Premier added: “The Western Cape Government (WCG) is committed to economic freedom, not shutting down our economy.

“With us forging ahead with our economic recovery, it is counterintuitive to impede people from going to work. We will not allow individuals to behave irresponsibly or place the safety of many thousands of people at risk.

“I reiterate, we as the WCG will not tolerate any attempts to prevent law-abiding citizens from going about their business, foment violence or endanger lives.

“Everyone in our country has a right to protest, but not to impose their views on others or infringe on their rights.”  

Winde said the provincial government was prepared for any eventualities.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre has been activated and all emergency and law enforcement agencies are on high alert.

The premier held a series of meetings this week with various stakeholders, among them Western Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, to ensure the province was prepared.

Should members of the public witness any acts of violence or intimidation on Monday, they are urged to contact law enforcement or the WCG through the following ways: Call Centre: 0860 142142 Email: service@westerncape.gov.za

Meanwhile, judgment has been reserved in the urgent matter brought to the Johannesburg High Court by the Democratic Alliance requesting an interdict to stop the EFF protest from going ahead on Monday.

The case was argued before Judge Leicester Adams on Friday afternoon.