Planned shutdown of businesses in bid to get Zuma to step down

A group calling themselves “We are South Africans” will from Friday embark on a “national shutdown” campaign in a bid to get President Jacob Zuma to step down.

“Our call for a national shutdown is simple. We cannot withhold taxes but we can stop working and participate‚” said Gilbert Martin‚ a spokesperson for the group.

The shutdown starts on Friday with companies shutting down their businesses for the rest of the week.

In a poster circulating on social media‚ the group calls on the public to “down tools‚ protest peacefully and legally”.

“Let us bring this country to a halt. Enough! We will not participate in this government anymore and we demand new elections…no more stealing from the poor…” the poster reads.

Despite several failed attempts to get Zuma to step down‚ Martin is adamant this campaign will put pressure on the president to leave his position.

“We are staying away from work. We will not be participating in the economy for a week and then we will organise marches‚” Martin said.

He said they have so far got support from about 200 companies across the countries that have agreed to close their businesses.

“Some people are taking unpaid leave. Others have taken annual leave.”

“Some people are taking unpaid leave. Others have taken annual leave.”

“We don’t want to create havoc. But there is no more negotiating. This man [Zuma] is a thief‚” Martin said.

He said the group had sent a memorandum to the African National Congress (ANC)‚ but did not receive any response from the organisation.

“We were the only ones to physically send a memorandum out of decency before the time [to protest] to state what it is we want…”

Martin said if the ANC had responded to the memorandum they would have called off their action‚ but “the ANC has ignored our message which I believe was a kind and simple request”.

In the memorandum to the ANC‚ the group is asking the party to recall Zuma.

“We are therefore imploring the ANC to do only one thing in order for us to call off the national shutdown‚ which will continue until you listen to the will of the people and that is to simply recall your president and let him sort out his difficulties in the courts that have been called out by many parties‚ individuals and people in this country.

“You do not have to recall him as president of the ANC‚ just as the president of the country‚” the memorandum reads.

By Nomahlubi Jordaan – Tiso Black Star Group

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