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Hermanus Times
Criticism mounts amidst call for a shut-down
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Business owners and political parties have strongly condemned the two-day shutdown planned for Friday 7 and Saturday 8 December.
The civil organisation Overstrand Unite announced on Wednesday that people from towns across the Overstrand - from Kleinmond to Gansbaai - are expected to take part in the two-day protest action.
Participants will start gathering at the parking lot adjacent to the Hermanus Swimming Pool between Zwelihle and Mount Pleasant which is known as Marikana at 07:00 on Friday morning. From there they will move up Swartdam Road, along the R43 to the Overstrand Municipality administration buildings in Magnolia Street.
Vanessa Swanepoel of Overstrand Unite said protesters are willing to camp out at the municipality until Overstrand Municipal Manager Coenie Groenewald is fired.
“We won’t budge until he is fired, even if it means we have to camp out in front of the municipality the whole weekend,” Swanepoel said. “We believe he is the head of the snake and, until he is removed from office, change can’t take place.”
Some of OU’s other demands include the dissolution of council and for the community to be involved in vetting Groenewald’s replacement.
Both the Democratic Alliance Overstrand Constituency and the Hermanus Business Chamber have expressed concerns that this protest action will put further strain on the region’s economy which has already been strained due to various factors including previous riots and the current load shedding schedule.
The DA Overstrand Constituency called on the public to join them in rejecting the call for a shutdown.
“We call on all peace loving and law abiding citizens of the area to take a stand and reject any attempt aimed at destroying the economy of Hermanus, and what has also become the apparent undermining of elected public representatives of our town,” said councillor Charmaine Resandt, the DA Constituency Secretary and Head of Communications (Read the full statement here).
In a statement the local business chamber said: “The Hermanus Business Chamber notes with deep disappointment the planned protest action, as it will impact negatively on trade for our members who are already under strain with current load shedding schedules and the negative economic impact of previous demonstrations.
“We do however welcome the notice period and, undertaking for a peaceful and lawful demonstration.”
The HBC has called on its members to respect worker’s rights and grant leave to employees who wish to take part in the protest.
“Unfortunately the ‘no work no pay principle’ will apply to those workers who participate in the planned demonstrations without the required approved leave,” the HBC warned.
Resandt says the only forms of shutdown that should be considered is the shutdown of unemployment, inequality, distrust and the destruction of unity in the town and a shutdown in the increasing crime levels.
Overstrand mayor Dudley Coetzee called on the public and protesters to respect each other’s rights in order for peace to prevail.
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