#NationalShutdown: Bheki Cele says over 80 people arrested

Some areas across the country have already been hit by the planned nationwide national shutdown with Police Minister Bheki Cele saying at least 87 people have been arrested across the country.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which is leading the national shutdown kicked off their protest well before midnight on Sunday.

National Shutdown

The red berets demanded Ramaphosa step down and are protesting against the constant bouts of load shedding that South Africa has experienced for months.

Watch Cele addressing the media

In Braamfontein, Johannesburg students began protesting on Sunday night with the police intervening and a few arrests made.

There is also a heavy police presence in the Joburg CBD with Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) monitoring the activity in the area.


South African Police Services (Saps) Minister Bheki Cele said at least 87 people have been arrested so far during the national shutdown.

Police Management led by National Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, Cele, and Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale provided an overview of the first 48 hours of law enforcement deployments in response to the 20 March protest.

Fires, blocked roads

Cele says the situation does remain calm for now, but there were some “problems”.

“People were blocking the road and we were told that others were stamping on the roofs of the cars that were there.

“So, police, as usual, had to make a call for them to stop, they couldn’t stop so they had to use the minimum kind of force, they used stun grenades. Fortunately, there were no rubber bullets used there.

“But, up to this time, 87 people have been arrested around the country in different provinces. Gauteng leads and Free State comes after and then Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal,” Cele said.

Of the eighty-seven arrested, 41 were arrested in Gauteng, 29 in North West, and 15 in Free State.

Cele said there have also been reported “fires in townships.”

“That will be Tembisa. But up until this point, it does look like the situation is normal, people are going to work especially in places like Soweto and Alex. We are checking Cape Town, it looks like there was one bus that was attacked.”

Police and SANDF

Cele said police are working with the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) to maintain calm.

“We are still integrated, we are working with the SANDF members, and private security.

“We are in touch with communities in different places. We hope that those who will be marching, as long as they do so peacefully, we have no reason for interfering with them,” Cele said.

The minister said police are working more closely with communities.

“In Soweto and KwaMashu, people have cooperated with police to prevent attempts to loot businesses,” Cele said.

Cele said over 24 000 tyres have been found and confiscated by police and other law enforcement agencies, who are monitoring roads and communities enforcing the law during the EFF protests.


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