Organisers of the march say the charges are a form of intimidation. 

UPDATE: The South African Police Services (SAPS) has closed the docket of the case against the #TotalShutdown conveners on the basis of it being “unfounded”. In a media statement issued on the evening of August 6, SAPS stated “at no stage was the SAPS management informed that the protesters, ”#TotalShutdown” have transgressed in any way before, during, or after the protest march.”

The organization has also stated that it has taken the allegations made by the protesters of police misconduct seriously. At least four cases against police office have been opened.

Two organisers of the #TotalShutdown march in Gauteng have been charged by the South African Police Services (SAPS) and ordered to hand themselves over to the Sunnyside SAPS police station in Pretoria by Wednesday, August 8.

This is according to the #TotalShutdown movement which says it was informed of the charges on Monday, August 6 and that it has declined to name the individuals to protect their identities.

The charges relate to permit violations which include not vacating the Union Buildings in Pretoria after the marchers were ordered to do by SAPS during the nationwide protest against gender-based violence which took place last Wednesday, August 1.

Loyiso Saliso, a representative of #TotalShutdown says the organisation has arranged legal representation for the two accused.

“We feel that this is somewhat a form of attack to intimidate the movement but we will follow proper procedures and abide by the law,” Saliso told Wits Vuvuzela

The organisers also released an official statement on the #TotalShutdown Facebook page which read, “We would like to remind the State that the march on 1 August was targeted at gender-based violence, femicide, and the harassment of women and GNC [gender non-conforming] people.

“We ask for support from all partners and all those in solidarity with our call for government and society to treat GBV [gender-based violence] as a crisis during this time,” the statement continued.

A representative of SAPS could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

The #TotalShutdown saw thousands of women and gender non-conforming individuals suspend economic activities for the day to take part in one of the marches which happened in 19 cities across South Africa. Protesters in Pretoria marched to the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum of 24 demands which was eventually received by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

FEATURED IMAGE: The #TotalShutdown was a nationwide march against gender-based violence which took place last Wednesday, August 1.
Photo: Elizabeth-Jane Ringrose