As the tide of public sentiment grows against President Jacob Zuma, people from all quarters are mobilizing in a nationwide demonstration being dubbed the Zuma Must Fall march. The country’s number one is facing increased pressure from both civil society and the broader public after overseeing the appointment of two finance ministers in four days, a move that has stoked a wave of anti-Zuma rhetoric.
Corruption watchdog Corruption Watch has alleged that President Jacob Zuma’s “failed” finance minister reshuffle may have been used to protect several dubious deals, including that of the SAA/Airbus swap transaction and nuclear procurement deal with Russia.
The president’s actions have spurred many South Africans to take to the streets on Wednesday, in line with Reconciliation Day, for several high profile marches in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, all under the #ZumaMustFall banner.
With Corruption Watch at the forefront of the protests, executive director, David Lewis says Zuma’s axing of Nhlanhla Nene, his brief appointment of David van Rooyen and ultimate reappointment of former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan has effectively shown him incapable of running the country, or a modern economy for that matter.
“We think that in order to protect himself and his cronies he has impoverished South Africans, which is not a recommendation for him to be continuing as president of this country. We think he must either resign or the ANC must do what is necessary and recall him,” he suggests.
Lewis stresses that the protests are not being motivated by a “political story”, but rather a shocking series of events that have brought about a collapse in the currency and led to a certain degree of economic uncertainty. This has in turn had detrimental effects at the core of all South African’s interests.
“Given that there are local government elections next year this becomes a matter of some practical urgency for the ANC. I am fairly confident that this campaign will succeed,” he notes.
Lewis adds that Wednesday’s protests will signify a clear exercise of democracy, especially since governments are meant to be accountable to the broader public.
“We are not saying the ANC must go, that is something that will be determined at the ballot box. What we are saying is that people are dissatisfied with the leader they have chosen to run the country,” he adds.
In Cape Town, activists will gather at the Company Gardens at 10am, while in Johannesburg things get underway at Nelson Mandela Bridge also at 10am. VOC