South Africa 4.4.2017 10:34 am

Govt sends strong warning to anti-Zuma protesters against violence

Some of the hundreds of South African Communist Party members and supporters hold anti-Zuma banners and posters during the late Anti Apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada's memorial service at the Johannesburg CIty Hall on April 1, 2017 in Johannesburg. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Some of the hundreds of South African Communist Party members and supporters hold anti-Zuma banners and posters during the late Anti Apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada's memorial service at the Johannesburg CIty Hall on April 1, 2017 in Johannesburg. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Demonstrators found guilty of any form of violence during the planned national shutdown will face the might of the law, government says.

Following calls on social media for South Africans to take to the streets on Friday for a national shutdown to force President Jacob Zuma to step down, government has strongly warned that police will deal with illegal action.

In a series of tweets on Monday evening, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said the call for citizens to occupy the streets and skip work in defiance to Zuma’s reshuffled Cabinet could have “unexpected consequences”.

“Government assures all South Africans that Friday‚ 7th April‚ is a normal working day. We have noted social media messages which call for a shutdown of the country on Friday.

“The call made in these messages can have unexpected consequences, especially for our fragile economy‚ business and communities. Whilst the public has a democratic right to embark on protest action‚ government does not support acts of civil disobedience,” GCIS said.

Anti-Zuma protests have gained monument across the country with civil society organisations taking part in numerous demonstrations since last week’s Cabinet reshuffle, which saw Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas get fired as finance minister and deputy finance minister, respectively.

The unprecedented move by Zuma has also been largely cited by Standard & Poor on Monday to downgrade the country’s economy to sub-investment grade or junk status.

GCIS said protesters found guilty of any form of violence will face the might of the law.

“When citizens take to the streets illegally‚ we often witness violence‚ destruction of property and lawlessness. These illegal protests do not possess the characteristics of strengthening democracy‚” GCIS said.

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