Forget social media messages - Friday 7 April is a normal working day: Govt

APRIL 4, 2017
Forget social media messages - Friday 7 April is a normal working day: Govt

In light of messages doing the rounds on social media, calling for a shutdown of the country on Friday in protest to the current political drama brought on by President Jacob Zuma's decision to fire former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, government on Tuesday said that this Friday 7 April 2017 is to be regarded as a normal working day.

Last week, President Zuma fired Gordhan and his Deputy, former Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Mcebisi Jonas, as well as Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, and Public Service and Administration Minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodiwhen, as he made changes to the National Executive "in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness".

The decision for fire Gordhan and Jonas did not go down well with opposition parties as well as the President's critics, who have been calling on him to quit and has seen social media messages circulating asking people to not go to work on Friday in order to force the President to resign.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said it has noted the call for a shutdown, which can have unexpected consequences especially for the country’s fragile economy, business and communities.

The department’s acting Director General Donald Liphoko said whilst the public has a democratic right to embark on protest action, government does not support acts of civil disobedience and the actions of a select few to infringe on the constitutional rights of the majority.

“When citizens take to the streets illegally, we often witness violence, destruction of property and lawlessness. These illegal protests do not possess the characteristics of strengthening democracy. Those found guilty of any form of violence will face the might of the law,” said Liphoko.

Government is of the view that South Africans can engage each other on differences through meaningful dialogue and through appropriate platforms.

The department said the social media messages are sent to bring the image of South Africa into disrepute, to disturb the economy and to create the impression of disorder and fear in communities.

Civil society organizations, business and society at large have been encouraged to work with government in strengthening the country’s democracy to create a better South Africa and contribute to a better and safer Africa.

- additional reporting SAnews.gov.za