THE anticipated shutdown that kept everyone talking in Mzansi didn’t see the light of day in Ulundi.
It was business as usual in this rural town located in the northern part of KZN on Monday, 20 March.
Members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) led by Ulundi Municipality Mayor Wilson Ntshangase patrolled around the business centre in Ulundi to ensure that no business was interrupted.
The group started patrolling from Sunday night, 19 March, as there were talks doing the rounds that the national shutdown would start from midnight.
They wore their political regalia, took their sjamboks and knobkerries to guard the town.
Ulundi was one of the towns that remained untouched during the 2021 July unrest while many towns within the Zululand region were looted.
Ntshangase said as they had promised it will be business as usual, they have kept their promise.
“What encourages us and what makes us proud is that the residents are also beside us to ensure that their town is not destroyed. People have not forgotten about the July riot and they endure the consequences of those actions,” he said.
He said they believe that if such incidents arise in future, Ulundi will be safe as long as they lead and they can’t destroy the only legacy they have.
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“In order for our local economy to grow, we need to protect what we have so that we can build from it,” he said
One of the residents, Phakamani Buthelezi (36), said: “I joined the IFP members to guard the town because when the dust settles people we are the onse who are going to suffer.
"Malema doesn’t do his shopping in Ulundi but we do. So I can’t let people destroy what we have just to please someone who doesn’t even care about them.”
Few kilometres away from Ulundi, the City of uMhlathuze in Richards Bay where there were strong claims that the operation of the port will be on standstill, everything was working fine as there was a checkpoint of all the vehicles coming into the city by the road authorities.
There were roadblocks everywhere and businesses were opened for trading, taxis were operating and no roads were blockaded.
There were no signs of protesters near the central business district.
City spokesman Bongani Gina said the city sent the letter to the EFF leaders in the region to address the by-laws of the city.
“We didn’t receive any communication from them. We didn’t get any application for the protests or march and since we didn’t receive any communication from EFF, we expect no movement from them in this city. Every citizen needs to follow the by-laws and regulations,” said Gina.