Proposed shutdown will not achieve any positive objective – Sacci

16th March 2023 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Proposed shutdown will not achieve any positive objective – Sacci

A national shutdown does not achieve any positive objectives and political campaigning and differences, such as disputes relating to who should or should not be the President of the Republic, should be resolved through the ballot box and not through calling for shutdowns, business body the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) says.

The challenges of low economic growth and high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality cannot be resolved by resorting to extra-Parliamentary and negligent political action that disrupts economic activity, it asserts.

Political party the Economic Freedom Fighters is planning a national shutdown on March 20.

"Our economy is facing significant headwinds. A shutdown can never be a legitimate way to handle political differences, as this is a clear abuse of the political process in which South Africa has demonstrated that conducting free and fair elections is, in fact, one of our strengths," it notes.

South African courts are also independent and accessible to adjudicate any electoral disputes relating to who should govern, Sacci adds.

It points out that South Africa's economy is in a difficult position of recovery and says "reckless actions by political parties or labour unions should be universally condemned".

Sacci also urges the organisers to do everything in their power to condemn the apparent intimidation and threats of looting businesses and interfering with those who choose not to participate in the shutdown.

"While the right to peaceful protest is enshrined in our Constitution, this right cannot be exercised to the detriment of others.

"We urge the organisers of the shutdown to consider the negative impact of the shutdown call. We may descend into an unacceptable scenario where any or all political parties who lose an election resort to reckless calls for a shutdown ostensibly to remove political opponents," Sacci states.

"We urge our business owners to not submit to intimidation, while taking precautions by working with law enforcement agencies to protect especially life and limb and property and possessions.

"We call on the security and safety establishment to come out in full force to protect people, property and possessions and stop any intimidation and violence that may arise," Sacci says.