Members of the Total Shutdown Gauteng grouping marched on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on Tuesday, demanding a full audit of coloured representation in listed businesses and a commitment to rectifying the lack of coloured representivity.
The group consists of residents from traditionally coloured communities - like Westbury, Eldorado Park and Ennerdale - who have embarked on protests in the past few weeks, alleging that they have been marginalised by government.
Protesters have also complained of high levels of crime and what they describe as a lack of action by the police. In Westbury, a special task team deployed by Police Minister Bheki Cele made eight arrests related to drug crimes in the area last week.
Handing over the memorandum, Anthony Williams from the Gauteng Shutdown Coordinating Committee said coloured representivity had been the "economic blind eye" of the JSE. He said coloured people were marginalised in the economy, did not benefit from broad-based black economic empowerment and affirmative action initiatives, and were "disconnected" from the majority of JSE companies.
JSE head of marketing, Mpho Ledwaba, received the memorandum outside the JSE offices in Sandton on Tuesday morning. Ledwaba said the JSE would consider the group’s demands and undertook to report back in seven days’ time.
'Our people are tired of lockdowns'
The Total Shutdown group of about 16 people were joined by Khoisan representatives, who said they identified with the coloured community as members of the "first nation".
"We are calling on the JSE to recognise that you have left the first nation behind," said Williams.
One of the protesters, Keith Duarte, told News24 that coloured people had been marginalised by government and the private sector. He said the group had found CVs belonging to coloured people in the bins outside government departments and said the community wanted "exclusive economic activity and empowerment".
He said that government policies like affirmative action and cadre deployment, as well as racism, had meant that coloured people were left out of employment opportunities.
Another community member, Fagmieda Brown, said coloured children were also being denied training opportunities and bursaries. She said they were specifically denied opportunities to study further through schemes like the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
- Read more: 'Shutdown' protests spread to Ennerdale
Williams said the group planned to ramp up their protest action in "creative" ways, but said that for now, it wouldn't use its lockdown strategy, in which suburbs like Westbury were closed down.
"Our people are tired of lockdowns," he said.
Mpho Ndlovu, from communications firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe, which does public relations for the JSE, said in a statement: "The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has accepted the notice letter from the Gauteng Shutdown Coordinating Committee. As per standard practice, the letter will be reviewed internally and thereafter the best course of action will be determined and actioned if and where appropriate."
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