HSF Statement Re National Shutdown

The call for a national shutdown is not one which we take lightly. Like millions of South Africans we are gatvol of the crises that are of our political leaders’ making but are ours to endure.

Still, we are alarmed at the language of those who look to lead the shutdown. Expressly and by implication, they invoke spectres of violence and intimidation, of small, struggling businesses being forced to close, of schoolchildren being unable to go to school.

We should all be in agreement that ordinary South Africans have suffered enough.

Unquestionably we are owed much better. We are owed a swift, sustainable, just resolution to our electricity crisis. We are owed secure public space in which while some might protest, others are assured in their freedoms and safety. We are owed an elected leadership which both understands and is responsive to its duty to serve the South African public.

We are all of us – across our many different walks of life – desperate for reform and resolution. We cannot afford, economically or psychologically, even the suggestion of a repeat of the July 2021 unrest.

Those who look to traffic in fear and threat, in violence and coercion, would only magnify our misery and deepen our divisions. At this perilous time, we need leaders – in government, in our broader politics, in business and our civic spaces—who are able to calm and assure South Africans with certain resolve, skillful planning and for the South African public’s clear purpose.

Not by offering false hopes or opportunistic measures.