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South Africans strengthen calls for President Zuma to step down

Many who attended the protest at the Union Buildings flew the South African flag high and held up placards against Zuma.

Anti-President Jacob Zuma marchers arriving at the Union Buildings. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans who took part in a march to the Union Buildings say they hope the mass demonstration has sent a strong message to President Jacob Zuma that his days in office are numbered.

Thousands of people including civil society groups, political parties and religious leaders marched from Church Square in the capital to the seat of government on Friday.

Many who attended the protest at the Union Buildings flew the South African flag high and held up placards against Zuma.

Marchers say they hope their participation in the march will evoke change within the structures of the ANC.

“We want to get the message across to the ANC as the ruling party, to remove president Jacob Zuma. We can’t afford to see your children and grandchildren to suffer when this country goes down.”

Religious leaders also addressed protestors and had this message for the president.

“If you humble yourself and resign, the Lord will lift you up.”

Save SA convener Sipho Pityana told demonstrators the march is the beginning of many more around the country that will continue until Zuma steps down.

NEW YORK MARCH

Some south Africans living in New York have called on citizens across the world to get involved in protests calling for an end to corruption in the country’s leadership.

A small group of South African expats gathered outside the consulate general in New York City on Friday to march for change.

The group said believe just because they’re not at home at the moment, it doesn’t mean they can’t voice their concerns with the country.

“A lot of people think we just come here and abandon South Africa and ignore issues that happen there. We want them to know that we stand with them.

“We’re standing here because our forefathers fought for. The country needs to change, we still love South Africa because it is still our home.”

About 20 people gathered outside South African embassy, holding signs saying “Madiba Cries” and “Zuma Must Fall”.

CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS URGE CITIZENS

Civil society groups have called on South Africans to prepare to head out to the streets again until President Jacob Zuma is booted out of office.

Thousands of Capetonians, led by the Save SA campaign and South Africa First Forum, marched to Parliament on Friday to call for President Jacob Zuma to step down.

The action comes a week after Zuma fired five ministers and the demonstrators say they will also start campaigns against government spending on nuclear energy.

The protestors’ directed their anger at Zuma, with posters describing him as a “criminal” and a “Gupta puppet”.

South Africa First Forum’s Naeem Frances says residents may have to come out again in their numbers for the same cause.

“In small little pockets, go out there and raise your hand as ordinary individuals.”

Save SA’s Lawson Naidoo says the action is not just about the cabinet reshuffle and has been long coming.

“This is about the way our country is being misgoverned, about the way Zuma has allowed state institutions to be captured for the benefit of his business friends such as the Guptas.”

The organisations are also hoping the protest will convince MPs to vote in favour of a motion of no confidence in Zuma.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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