The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has announced a national shutdown on 20 March 2023. According to the EFF, the purpose of the shutdown is to highlight South Africa’s socio-economic issues, including loadshedding. The intention is to bring economic activity and movement to a halt by blocking road networks and disrupting the flow of services and goods.
This is according to experts in Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s employment law practice who say that the EFF will not be alone in this protest.
“Organised labour, including the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) confirmed that it will join the national shutdown. This is significant because SAFTU has 24 trade union affiliates which span several sectors including facilities management, transport, the public sector, manufacturing, mining, and construction,” says Thabang Rapuleng, Director in CDH’s employment law division.
Rapuleng’s colleague and Senior Associate at CDH, Tamsanqa Mila, adds that it has been reported that the EFF is in talks with some sectors, including the taxi industry, to join the national shutdown.
“A large portion of the workforce relies on public transport to commute to and from work. If the taxi industry, in addition to SAFTU affiliates and other political formations that have expressed their support, join the national shutdown, employers nationally will be impacted on Monday, 20 March 2023.”
“It is not a coincidence that Monday, 20 March is the day before Human Rights Day, which is a public holiday that also commemorates the Sharpeville massacre that took place in 1960 when Apartheid police fired on a peaceful protest. Employers will accordingly have only three working days that week if the national shutdown occurs,” says Rapuleng.
Considering the operational requirements of many businesses, CDH implores employers to prepare accordingly.