The coffin was draped in a South African flag, as opposition parties and members of the public came together to demand the president be removed.
It was the second such march in less than a week, with the #peoplesmarch on Friday attracting tens of thousands of people.
Zuma’s recent sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan has unleashed public anger over government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth.
After the cabinet reshuffle, two ratings agencies have downgraded South Africa’s sovereign debt to junk status. This resulted in South Africa’s banks also being downgraded, as they cannot be more highly rated than the country.
This is expected to limit the country’s access to credit, and thus weaken the economy, which is already suffering high unemployment and low growth.
Zuma responded to the protests, claiming that they showed racism was still alive in South Africa.
“Placards at the marches depicting monkeys indicated that our white counterparts view black people as less of human beings or subhuman. We cannot allow racists to take our country backwards,” Zuma said at the unveiling of a memorial marking 24 years since the death of struggle hero Chris Hani.
Opposition parties said the president’s response demonstrated Zuma’s own failings as a leader.
“His irrational actions will have a massively negative effect on the poorest in our country who are mostly black. The fact that he cannot or chooses not to see this only confirms that Zuma governs like black lives do not matter‚” DA spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme said.
EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said, “Why would Zuma say these marches are racist? Because he saw a few placards. Those placards must be condemned‚ because there is no place for racism particularly on the picket lines defending our democratic constitution.”
Ndlozi added however that the fact such racism still existed demonstrated that the ANC hadn’t done enough to put a stop to it in the over two decades it was in power.