We will keep up the pressure until Zuma goes, say opposition parties

Protesters march through the streets of the captial on Friday. Image: ANTON BADENHORST

This is just the beginning, opposition parties vowed after Friday’s nationwide marches and rallies drew thousands. They said the actions were aimed at democratically unseating President Jacob Zuma and the ANC government.

Opposition parties are planning to keep up the pressure with a march to the Union Buildings on Wednesday.

Mass gatherings are also planned for next week to coincide with the parliamentary motion of no confidence in the president on April 18.

The United Democratic Movement is expected to file court papers in the High Court in Cape Town tomorrow in a bid to compel National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to accede to the party’s request for a secret ballot when MPs vote on the motion.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said: “We shall, amongst other things, be referring to Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza’s threats against ANC leaders if they dare to vote against the motion … An open vote can no longer be democratic if threats mean MPs can no longer vote according to their consciences.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that Friday’s marches were a turning point for Zuma and the ANC. “The court action by ourselves, as the DA, to challenge the rationality of President Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle, the UDM’s court case for a secret ballot … Wednesday’s mass march … to the Union Buildings, a billboard campaign and a big march on the day of the no-confidence debate are all in the pipeline.

“People must not let up now.”

“People must not let up now.”

In a possible precursor to the 2019 election campaign, Wednesday’s march from Church Square to the Union Buildings will be spearheaded by seven opposition parties — the DA, the EFF, the IFP, the UDM, the African Christian Democratic Party, COPE and the African People’s Convention.

The march is scheduled to start at noon.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said of Friday’s successes: “This is a historic day. All South Africans must decide which side of the divide they are on.

“The EFF will spend this whole weekend organising rolling mass action for this Wednesday in Tshwane and next weekend for further mass action to coincide with the 18th’s vote of no confidence.”

Maimane,  who arrived at Friday’s gathering wearing a bulletproof vest, explained yesterday that he had received death threats.

“It was the first time I had worn one, and I wore it because I receive death threats all the time and I have a wife and children to care for.”

Maimane also objected to the presence of MK  Military Veterans Association members outside Luthuli House during the DA’s march in Johannesburg.

“We really need to start questioning the legality of the MK Military Veterans Association. Our constitution forbids the existence of private paramilitary groups.

“How long will the ANC be allowed to continue this illegality? Zuma is creating two things every African dictator creates: militant, violent youth as foot soldiers; and a private paramilitary outfit.

“We have a dictator on our hands — our very own junk president, Jacob Zuma,” said Maimane.

SUNDAY TIMES NEWS BY JAN-JAN JOUBERT

 

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