The Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee civil society group is calling for shutdown protests in Soweto, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni (Gauteng province) on Tuesday, February 25. Supporters are being asked to block roads and close down businesses to protest perceived unfair treatment by the state power utility company, Eskom. Group leaders have organized the demonstrations to coincide with the State of the Province Address (SOPA) that Premier David Makhura will deliver in Tshwane. A spokesperson from the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) said that they are aware of the protests and have deployed additional officers to maintain security and keep roads clear.
A heightened police presence and traffic and business disruptions are anticipated in the abovementioned areas, and in Johannesburg more generally, on Tuesday. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Residents in Soweto and other neighborhoods are accusing Eskom of unfairly shutting off electricity to poorer areas due to non-payment. The group is demanding that the utility company explain how it has calculated the debt owed by residents in Soweto.
Individuals in Soweto, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, allow additional time to travel, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.