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Besides being overwhelmed by endless blackouts, citizens protest against the high unemployment rate, which remained at 32.7 percent for the fourth consecutive quarter.
As of Monday night, South African's National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure arrested over 550 protesters, who are accused of public violence, intimidation, damage to infrastructure, robbery and attempted looting during a national shutdown protest.
"Gauteng recorded the highest number of arrests with 149, the Northern Cape recorded the second-highest number with 95 arrests, the Eastern Cape also saw 80 protestors arrested, followed by Free State with 64 arrests," the South African Police Service (SAPS) said.
Opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) organized a shutdown, with thousands of protestors taking to the streets in major cities to force President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) also supported the national strike to protest against the high unemployment rate, which remained at 32.7 percent for the fourth consecutive quarter.
The EFF shutdown of South Africa is here.
It took months of organizing "house by house" but now it's paralyzing portions of SA as days of strikes and protests have been planned pic.twitter.com/k8dHrlNdXQ
— ☭ᴅᴀᴠɪᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴇxᴍᴏ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪꜱᴛ��️����️⚧️ (@SLCSocialist)
March 20, 2023
Citizens also reject the constant power blackouts caused by the poor state of the electrical network, which depends almost entirely on the indebted state company Eskom.
Corruption, insufficient energy supply, breakdowns, and the theft of equipment and cables are other factors that explain the South African energy situation, which forced President Ramaphosa to "State of National Disaster" and to create a new Ministry of Electricity.
Law enforcement officers have also confiscated 24,300 tyres throughout the country, since protestors usually use burning tyres to blockade roads.
SAPS Spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the protests, especially in Pretoria, were peaceful. Law enforcement deployments will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and security of everyone in the country, Mathe said.