Riots uprising ANC government

The aftermath of the July Riots in a KZN store – Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP

Why is a National Shutdown taking place on Friday – and who’s involved?

An official ‘security debrief’ has been published, ahead of the planned National Shutdown for South Africa on Friday 10 June.

Riots uprising ANC government

The aftermath of the July Riots in a KZN store – Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP

If you’ve had your ear to the ground this week, you’ll know that plans for a National Shutdown are still in place for Friday 10 June. Police units are on ‘high alert’, and metro regions such as eThekwini have all officers on standby. But how did South Africa get to this point?

The swell of support for a National Shutdown began online, and the eponymous hashtag trended for days. However, it’s believed that momentum for the campaign as stalled, with some dismissing the threat as mere ‘online activism’ – but law enforcement officials aren’t risking it

Why a National Shutdown is being planned for Friday

It’s all down to the current cost of living crisis. The price of fuel has skyrocketed, largely due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This has severely impacted the price of petrol and diesel, and that has a major impact on the value of food and other essential items.

The security service Fidelity has produced a brief on the anticipated disruption, and they have unpacked how the aggression shown by Vladimir Putin has led to a growing sense of discontent in Mzansi:

“The war in Ukraine led to widespread sanctions against Russia, which globally impacted the availability and price of fuel. The South African National Treasury attempted to shield the public from the fuel increases through a reduction of the fuel levy.”

“This reduction was scheduled between May and August 2022. However, President Ramaphosa indicated that this reduction could not be sustained indefinitely because it was implemented at the expense of other public programmes.”

“These fuel increases will greatly impact South Africans’ cost of living, including the cost of taxi fares and food prices. As a result, certain groups have voiced varying levels of support for a national shutdown on Friday 10 June.”

Fidelity statement

Who is allegedly behind this planned disruption?

In total, four major organisations have associated themselves with the planned National Shutdown – but most of them have sent mixed messages out over the past few days. Despite some withdrawals from key stakeholders, the following groups have been named as ‘key roleplayers’:


  • The Red Berets voiced their support for a National Shutdown last week.
  • They have called upon all South Africans to stay away from work and school on the given date.
  • The EFF implicitly demanded that the National Treasury implement long-term measures to lower the fuel price.
  • On Wednesday, Julius Malema vowed to ‘shutdown Parliament’, in protest of Cyril Ramaphosa and Farmgate.

South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO)

  • SANTACO has released contradictory information to the media in relation to their support of the planned National Shutdown.
  • Some branches in Kwazulu-Natal had pledged their full support, but the national office has issued a ‘complete denial’ on this stance.
  • Fidelity are adamant, however, that taxi associations could still get involved in the disruption.

National Taxi Alliance (NTA)

  • Bizarrely, the NTA also flip-flopped on its position, going back and forth on an official stance.
  • Last week, the NTA supported the National Shutdown, and even tried to get COSATU onside.
  • However, the alliance now states that it has made ‘no decision’ on the matter.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

  • COSATU is sympathetic to the cause, and it’s understood some branches could take part in a nationwide shutdown.
  • Though there has been an official distancing from their hierarchy, COSATU member are still being pressured to join in
  • As with the taxi associations, no disruption will be officially endorsed by the organisation – but individuals are expected to ‘break ranks’.