Worries about violence as thousands prepare to march ahead of no confidence vote

Thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets of the Cape Town CBD ahead of the scheduled motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

The organisers include more than 30 civil society groups‚ faith-based movements and political parties.

The Unite Behind coalition will march on Monday from Keizersgracht Street to parliament‚ where the group will be addressed by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.

The coalition was born out of the Cape Town memorial for struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada. It hopes that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete will grant a secret ballot on the motion to be tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

Parliament had previously said that Mbete would make the decision before August 3 but she has kept her cards close to her chest.

In a statement released on Wednesday‚ Unite Behind said it regarded the ending of the Jacob Zuma presidency as “necessary“.

“We must compel the ANC to recall President Zuma … This is a society where people [need to] begin to share in the country’s wealth. This is our struggle now and after Zuma goes.”

On Tuesday‚ two more marches are expected take place that have the potential for violent clashes. The Multi-Party Notice‚ made up of opposition parties‚ including the EFF and the DA‚ has received a permit for 10‚000‚ as has the the ANC Dullah Omar region.

It will equal the biggest protest ever approved by the city after the Muslim Judicial Council were granted permission for 20‚000 people in August 2014.

City spokesperson Hayley van der Woude said police would head up special security arrangements on the day‚ but that the city’s enforcement agencies would be on standby.

On Monday civic organisation Future SA called for a National Day of No Confidence in the president and encouraged South Africans to “take to the streets” between 12pm and 2pm on Tuesday.

People have also been asked to support the motion against the president on Tuesday by driving with their headlights on.

But the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) believes that next week’s planned marches will not influence MPs in the vote on the motion of no confidence in the president.

CSVR executive director Nomfundo Mogapi said they were very concerned Tuesday’s march would lead to violence.

“If you have these two opposing groups there‚ the likelihood of this turning into violence is our biggest concern. The concern is not whether this [march] will influence the decision or not‚ because we know that when the governing party has made a decision [it doesn’t often change]‚” Mogapi said.

“We’ve been seeing this trend of what we call collective violence‚ where we find that a group of people will go and protest for a genuine need or concern‚ but what usually happens is that it ends up becoming violent. Protest‚ as a language for being heard in the current dispensation‚ is not really the best vehicle. What we have found is that the majority of protests are becoming more and more violent.”

By Farren Collins – TimesLIVE

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