The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said he can only be removed from power through the ballot amid calls by the opposition EFF for him to relinquish his post.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by Julius Malema plan to lead a national shutdown on Monday 20 March 2023 over the electricity crisis and to force Ramaphosa to step down.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said law enforcement officials have been briefed to ensure no anarchy and disorder are permitted on the day.
Ramaphosa warned the red berets he can only be removed through the ballot adding “regime change … can’t come about through anarchy or disorder in the country“.
He made the remarks at the Union Buildings during a state visit by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, News24 reported.
Ramaphosa added while the right to protest was enshrined in the Constitution, it did not give the EFF the right to infringe on the rights of the rest of the citizenry. He said:
The right to protest is deeply embedded in our Constitution and is a right that we as South Africans fought for and won so that South Africans can protest against what may be concerning issues, but that right is not absolute. It is a limited right not underpinned by violence. We met with our security cluster yesterday, and they will defend our people from any planned attempts to destabilise the country.
It is [the protest] aimed at the president, the energy crisis must be resolved, and the cost of living is too high … our politics is fractious, we are divided, and this is also an issue of us into the elections next year.
Many parties, when we go to an election, start positioning themselves because they want to win the vote and position themselves in a way that is completely different from the governing party.
But what I would like to say is that the rule of law governs South Africa, we are a constitutional democracy. The right to protest is not underpinned by violence. We will not allow anarchy…
His utterances come after EFF leader Julius Malema reiterated on Wednesday his party would go ahead with its planned protest, which he said would be conducted in an orderly manner.
On Wednesday, ANC sectary-general Fikile Mbalula said EFF leaders should be held personally liable for any deaths or destruction on Monday.