South Africans gather for nationwide protests against Zuma

Financial analyst Aly Khan Satchu
Financial analyst Aly Khan Satchu
Author

10 April, 2017

Among those in the protests were members of several opposition parties, many civil-society groups, trade unions, business executives, the ruling party's alliance partners in the Communist Party, and even the 85-year-old Nobel Peace Prize victor, retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, who is in frail health.

He said South Africa will "not allow the Guptas to appoint any more ministers" and said SaveSA is determined to reverse "the coup d'├ętat (cabinet reshuffle) that happened in the middle of the night".

According to local media, Members of the ruling African National Congress party assaulted several protesters participating in a Johannesburg march organized by the Democratic Alliance, South Africa's biggest opposition party.

"We are sick and exhausted of the flouting of the constitution, flouting of the law" by the government, said Lawson Naidoo, a protest organizer in Cape Town.

Sipho Pityana leader of SaveSA said South Africa is not a junk country with a junk president and called on Zuma to resign.

In the statement, they touch on the axing of former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene - who they believe was removed because of differing views regarding the country's expensive nuclear programme.

"The people are not rebelling against the ANC, but it is monopoly capital that is manipulating our people to further its narrow agenda", he said of those who took part in Friday's protests.

Protest action in Port Alfred was peaceful under the watchful gaze of the South African Police Services.

The vote has been scheduled for April 18 but the likelihood of Zuma being forced to leave while he has the backing of the ANC, which retains a large majority in parliament, is low.

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Analysts said Zuma remains in favour in rural areas, contrasting with his waning popularity in urban quarters. The ruling African National Congress is due to pick a new leader later this year who most likely will be its candidate for president, and the presumptive favorite, in the 2019 election.

The rand weakened slightly after Fitch's announcement, with traders saying the agency's move had already been priced-in. "The time to act is now". The currency has tumbled more than 11 percent since March 27, when Zuma ordered Gordhan to return home from overseas talks with investors, days before firing him.

"We want Zuma to fall".

Demonstrators took to the streets in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria in addition to other major cities.

"President Zuma was elected in broad daylight through correct processes, but now he is a victim of wounded tigers", she said.

"We are very concerned that people who are exercising their constitutionally enshrined rights are being treated as enemies", Gail Smith, a senior official of the Human Rights Commission, said.

"It's not simply a question of his removal".

Nkosi said Cosas came out in their "numbers" to defend the ANC and Luthuli House against the DA and Economic Freedom Fighters.

Syriana Maesela, 65, a retiree was on her way by train to Pretoria to join the march carrying a South African flag.


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