Another mega protest, incorporating numerous opposition political parties, is planned for this week in Pretoria as opposition parties mount pressure for President Jacob Zuma to quit.
At a joint media briefing on Monday, senior officials of opposition parties including the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, African Christian Democratic Party, United Democratic Movement (UDM), and the Inkhatha Freedom Party pledged to march to the Union Buildings on Wednesday, demanding an immediate Zuma ouster.
“President Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle started a domino effect, with the rand tanking, South Africa’s downgrading by two ratings agencies as well as the downgrading of some banks and Eskom. Junk status makes South Africa an unsafe investment destination and international banks will think twice before lending money to us,” said UDM leader Bantu Holomisa while addressing journalists on behalf of the political parties.
“Our credibility is shot and the knock-on effects in terms of the cost of living is going to hit out poor people the hardest.”
The opposition parties said Zuma can no longer deliver on his mandate.
“The influence of the Gupta family on our president, including several ministers, means President Zuma has been bought by the highest bidder, and that South Africa is being run from Saxonwold,” said Holomisa.
“From Wednesday onwards, the aforementioned political parties shall embark on a programme of periodic mass action to ensure that South Africans, and their country, are protected from the brutal hand of Mr Jacob Zuma. We now announce to all South Africans, Africa and the world that we have declared April 12 a ‘National Day of Action’.”
He said already there has been indications of civil society groups, including Save South Africa, who have vowed to join the National Day of Action protests.
“We extend our invitation to all South African citizens, other political parties, labour organisations, traditional and religious institutions and other interested parties to participate in all the other protest activities in the pipeline. We also, and very specifically, extend an invitation to the ruling party, which claims to be the leader of society, to occasionally act with the people and for the people,” Holomisa said, reading out the press release.
“If they fail to hear the loud cries of South Africans to remove their junk president, the people must unite in dictating their own destiny and punish the African National Congress in the 2019 national and provincial elections.”
Other political parties – African Independent Congress, African People’s Convention, Agang SA – were also represented and will be taking part in the mass action.
Last week, numerous cities across South Africa were brought to a standstill as thousands of people participated in a strike organised by Save SA.
The Tshwane Metro Police Department said the march would take place between 9am and 4pm.
Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said marchers would gather at Church Square in Pretoria and head for the Union Buildings.
He said Madiba, Edmond and Hamilton streets would be closed so buses could transport marchers. Other streets would also be affected by the march.
The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) denied claims it had been invited to join the march but no reply had been received from them.
PAC national spokesperson Kenneth Mokgatlhe said the united political parties were economical with the truth because the PAC only learnt about the invitation through the media.
“This misinformation is very dangerous because it generates an impression that the PAC have already taken a sell-out position. It is disappointing to hear some politicians dragging the PAC name into the mud. The misinformation is unfortunate,” said Mokgatlhe.
– Additional reporting by African News Agency