Tshwarelo Hunter Mogakane
It remains unclear what will happen next Monday when the EFF embarks on a national shutdown protest in demand of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s resignation as head of State.
The main threat to the EFF initiative to hold Ramaphosa accountable for his Phala Phala farmgate scandal and the economic downturn South Africa has experienced since he took office in 2018 appears to be the taxi industry’s umbrella body, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).
On Thursday, the council issued a statement to all its regional secretaries, instructing them not to participate in the national shutdown and to operate taxis normally.
“Santaco has decided that the taxi industry will not participate in the planned national shutdown. We urge all provinces to inform their respective regions and taxi associations that the 20th of March 2023 will be a normal operating day for the taxi industry,” said Santaco Secretary-General Daki Qumbu.
The Santaco instruction, which followed an evening meeting with the EFF, clashes with the wishes of the red berets that no business should be in operation on the day.
However, it is clear that the EFF cannot afford to force taxi drivers to park their minibusses and allow protestors to go on their various peaceful marches across the country.
During his media address on Wednesday, the party’s Commander in Chief, Julius Malema assured taxi drivers the protestors will not interfere with Santaco’s public transport system.
“There shouldn’t be unnecessary conflict and confrontations between ourselves and the taxi (drivers) because we all belong to the same class. Therefore, to have the working class fighting each other is to please capital,” he told the media.
Nonetheless, EFF leaders across the provinces and regions have expressed a resolute view toward the shutdown.
North West EFF secretary Papiki Babuile said no memorandum would be handed over to any public or private entity.