The Tshwane Shutdown protest movement has forced Deputy
President David Mabuza to abandon his planned election campaign in the region.
On Thursday morning, residents of Soshanguve and Hammanskraal awoke to fiery scenes. Widespread protests, ostensibly over inadequate service delivery, resulted in major disruptions, with streets being barricaded by burning debris and boulders.
Mabuza avoids Tshwane Shutdown
ANC DEPUTY PRESIDENT ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL IN HAMMANSKRAAL
The African National Congress Deputy President, Comrade @DDMabuza, will today, Thursday, 11 April 2019, embark on a campaign Trail in Hammanskraal, Gauteng. #GrowSouthAfrica#ThumaMina #VoteANC8May2019 pic.twitter.com/rXienwi49a
— #VoteANC (@MYANC) April 11, 2019
The Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) was quick to respond, attempting to disperse protesters and reopen roads in the vicinity. The volatility and sporadic nature of the protests made law enforcement’s job much harder. Still, TMPD spokesperson, Isaac Mahamba, confirmed that more officers were being deployed to the region to effectively quell the dissidence.
Deputy President Mabuza, who has been actively campaigning
for the African National Congress (ANC) ahead of the 8 May elections, was due
to begin the Tshwane leg of his door-to-door tour on Thursday. The Shutdown
protests, however, threw a spanner in the works, with concentrated action
taking place in Hammanskraal; the suburb which was supposed to welcome Mabuza
Shortly before the planned arrival of Mabuza, the ANC issued a statement announcing the campaign’s postponement.
A day of protest in South Africa
At least three separate protests erupted across South Africa
on Thursday, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) blaming the ANC for orchestrating
the upheaval. The official opposition party alleges that the ANC is in the
process of making the country ungovernable, particularly in DA-run municipalities,
ahead of the 8 May election.
In Cape Town, the N2 highway was closed for most of the morning, due to violent protests which flared up overnight in the Somerset West region. In Khayelitsha, roads were barricaded with burning tires and shops were looted of their wares.
In Mthatha, Eastern Cape, disgruntled municipal workers took
to the streets to voice their frustrations. This also resulted in minor
disruption in the town.