'No candle-holding exercise': EFF vows to bring country to standstill with national shutdown

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  • The EFF says it will organise a national shutdown to demand several issues be resolved by the government. 
  • Leader Julius Malema said rising fuel and food prices, as well as continuous load shedding were crippling citizens. 
  • The EFF also plans to go to court to force SARS and the Reserve Bank to investigate President Cyril Ramaphosa over the Phala Phala matter. 

The EFF is pushing for a national shutdown, with the party's leader Julius Malema insisting that the entire Eskom board should resign because of continuous load shedding. 

During a press briefing on Thursday, Malema said his party could not sit and fold its arms as the country's electricity and economic situation continued to affect millions of South Africans. 

The EFF said it believed a national shutdown would force the government to take steps to address load shedding and rising fuel and food prices. 

Although no date had been set yet for a shutdown, the party said it would join forces with other progressive organisations. 

It warned that it would not be a "candle-holding exercise", but would bring the country to a standstill. 

READ | Forget about electricity for all if Eskom is privatised - Nxesi

Malema said the EFF wanted the entire Eskom board to resign, as well as Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, COO Jan Oberholzer, and for the utility's senior managers to be fired. 

Malema said the crisis facing Eskom was a result of a broader plan to stifle the company to such an extent that it was entirely reliant on independent power producers.

He provided no evidence for this, but also blamed "Western forces", including the UK, for trying to cripple the state-owned company. 

"They are on a path to destroy Eskom. The Eskom crisis was manufactured because they wanted to create space for independent power producers who are large companies from the West. The aim is to destroy and then privatise Eskom," Malema said.

He threatened that no economic activity would occur during the shutdown and that every Eskom office would be occupied. 

ALSO READ | Speaker protecting Ramaphosa by refusing to set up committee to probe Phala Phala theft - DA

Malema also criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he had lied to the country and that there had been crisis after crisis since he took office.

"People's lives are degenerating. Millions of South Africans are jobless, and those employed and self-employed are drowning in debt. Eskom is failing to provide dependable electricity. This happens despite the promise that load shedding will never occur again. Ramaphosa has misled the people of South Africa."

The national shutdown would also call for Ramaphosa removal as head of state. 

The EFF, according to Malema, would be approaching the courts to force the SA Revenue Services (SARS) and the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) to investigate Ramaphosa regarding the Phala Phala matter. 

So far, the Hawks have been investigating the Phala Phala case, which was opened by the former director-general at State Security Agency. 

The Public Protector is also investigating a complaint filed by the African Transformation Movement. 

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