Jun 26, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Business as usual despite unsigned calls for national shutdown

Business continues as usual in Tshwane and Johannesburg, where local law enforcement have deployed boots to monitor possible flare-ups related to the looming nationwide shutdown.

Passengers commuted to work and petrol stations closed in Tshwane work normally. City Metro Police spokesman Isaac Mahamba said no incidents had been reported.

“TMPD and other law enforcement agencies have been covering all eventualities. At this time we have not detected or received any complaints from people protesting in the town of Tshwane,” he said.

Calls for protest action originally came from unsigned petitions on social media calling for government intervention to bring down the price of gas.

While calling for government action to mitigate the impact of rising fuel prices on their industry, taxi organizations including Santaco, as well as major union federation Cosatu, have distanced themselves from calls for the shutdown.

“The Federation and its affiliates will not participate in this absence. We also discourage our members from joining this stayaway as it is an unprotected action that may result in their dismissal from work,” Cosatu said on the eve of the threatened protest.

Xolani Fihla , spokesman for the Johannesburg Metro Police, said the metro was also not disrupted.

“Nothing has been reported so far. We know there was a possible risk that public transport would not be operational, but I can confirm that public transport is operational and there is no disruption on this side,” he said.

The The government’s National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints), which coordinates law enforcement operations, said Thursday it would curb any crime if the alleged nationwide shutdown took place on Friday.

Fihla said her officers were patrolling in the city.

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“Our plans are in line with the operations directed by the Office of the Provincial Commissioner and the main focus is on high police visibility providing a deterrent to any potential threat. JMPD officers will patrol malls and malls in the city and also watch for disruptions on major thoroughfares.”

Stemmer Monageng, chairman of the Mamelodi Local and Long Distance Taxi Association (MALLDTA), said they proceeded as usual.

Talks are being held with the government to mitigate high fuel prices, he said.

“We are not yet at the stage of a shutdown. We are still negotiating with the government. We’re still going to include everyone, including Cosatu – we haven’t stuck anyone. We’re going about our business as usual.

“People take things off the [negotiation] table when they’re not done and make it look like they’re done, but we’re still not that far.

“But if we’re not listened to, [protest] will happen.”

The industry has been hit hard by fuel costs and commuters are already struggling with the high costs of life.

“It is having a very negative impact because we are now in a situation where we have to deal with the issue of increasing taxi fares, but we are in a position in which we find difficult because company t gave people extra money for transportation. So we ask ourselves, where are they getting these funds from? So we sit behind closed doors and discuss these situations,” he said.

LISTEN | Santaco distances itself from nationwide shutdown amid speculation

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