South Africa's EFF marches to demand Ramaphosa's resignation

March 21, 2023 6:47 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Thousands of protesters marched through South Africa’s cities on Monday.

Calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign over the lack of jobs and electricity, as security forces guarded malls and streets to prevent any violence and looting.

As of 10 p.m. (2000 GMT) more than 550 protesters had been arrested since Sunday night on such charges as public violence, intimidation, damage to critical infrastructure and theft, the national intelligence body NatJOINTS said in a statement.

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South Africans are angry at the failure of the governing African National Congress (ANC) to deliver services and create jobs. With a third of South Africans out of work, analysts expect the ANC to lose its parliamentary majority for the first time in three decades in national elections next year.

Meanwhile, state electricity utility Eskom is implementing the worst rolling blackouts on record, leaving households in the dark for up to 10 hours a day.

“We are not going to do anything. We just walk nicely and raise our concerns,” protest leader Julius Malema, head of the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said in front of a large crowd gathered at Church Square in Pretoria’s city centre before marching to the president’s office.

The EFF party, whose supporters are mainly poor Black South Africans who feel marginalized since the ANC ended white minority rule in 1994, called for a national shutdown – a move which was successful to the extent that many businesses were closed and workers stayed away for lack of transport.

In central Sandton, the financial hub and one of the wealthiest districts in Africa, EFF protesters danced and sang outside its chrome and glass office buildings. Others put their litter in designated bins, heeding calls for a peaceful protest.

Many had crossed a bridge over a freeway from the next-door impoverished township of Alexandra.