The Tshwane Total Shutdown protest movement gripped Pretoria on Thursday morning, resulting in major traffic disruptions and an increased police presence.

Total Shutdown action – first witnessed in the Western Cape and more recently in Alexandra, Johannesburg – is a protest movement designed to disrupt daily routine in an attempt to bring attention to a wide array of socioeconomic issues. The protests usually involve the barricading of major roadways and mass marches.

Disruption in Tshwane erupted in the early hours of Thursday morning, following anonymous threats and flyer-drops earlier in the week. The African National Congress (ANC), which openly supported the protests in Alexandra, have distanced themselves from the Tshwane Total Shutdown. ANC regional chairperson, Dr Kgosi Maepa, said:

“I’ve heard people are going to organise a shutdown. We are not against it because there is no service delivery in Hammanskraal.”

The exact cause of the discontent in Tshwane is, by all accounts, multifaceted. Inadequate service delivery forms the foundation for uprising with local taxi operators bolstering offensive. Taxi organisations, in the northern and western townships of Pretoria, have rebelled against the City’s management.

On Tuesday, Stinkwater Eersterust Taxi Association (SETA) and Ga-Rankuwa, Soshanguve, Hammanskraal Taxi Association (GSHTA) held a picket outside the Tshwane house, demanding that a memorandum on permits be accepted and approved by the powers that be. It’s alleged that this coincides with the Tshwane Total Shutdown experienced on Thursday.

According to reports from Pretoria residents, the suburbs of Mokopane and Shoshanguve remained inaccessible shortly after daybreak. Protesters have barricaded streets with burning debris, rubble and boulders, causing massive traffic delays in the area.

Tshwane traffic authorities have urged motorists travelling in the area to exercise extreme caution.

The protests precede the State of the City Address which is due to take place in Pretoria from 9:00 onward. Traffic is due to be disrupted in the vicinity of Church Square and Paul Kruger Street. Road closures are expected to be in place until midday.

The South African
This report does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SA news.


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