MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP via Getty Images
87 Arrested As South Africa Calls For Ramaphosa's Resignation
The planned #NationalShutDown saw the country appear in droves to protest the leaders accelerating the nation's demise.
South African political opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s long-awaited #NationalShutDown took place on Monday, with droves of angry protestors filling the streets of major cities. There were 87 arrests that took place before the protest officially started, as police minister Bheki Cele emphasized his no-nonsense stance on the unrest. In January, EFF leader Julius Malema called his army of red berets—and any other disgruntled South Africans—to shut the country down in an attempt to pressure President Cyril Ramaphosa into resigning. The mass protests are in response to the country's continued load-shedding epidemic, increasing unemployment rates, and a lack of confidence in the current ruling party.
Protesters took to the streets of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria early Monday morning. The city of Pretoria holds prominence as it's the country's administrative capital and home to the president's office. Peaceful protestors danced in the streets of Sandton, Africa's wealthiest region, illustrating the gross economic divide that many argue South Africa's ruling party has nourished.
Though Malema and his party called for peace, their main objection was to block businesses and the service delivery industry from conducting business. Also in the line of fire were the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, border crossings, ports, and more. However, last week Western Cape and Johannesburg's High Courts declared that any attempts to incite or participate in looting, intimidation, and disruption of economic activity or violate the rights of South Africans to work would be unlawful. O.R. Tambo International Airport even shut down its arrival and departure roadways in preparation for the ruckus.
Of the 87 arrests reported, 41 of them were in Gauteng—where Johannesburg and Pretoria lie—29 in North West province, and 15 in the Free State. Parliament also declared that 3,474 soldiers from the South African military would be deployed into the country until April 17 to ensure that nothing gets accomplished.