Lobby groups call on citizens to prepare for more marches until Zuma goes

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

Lawson Naidoo of Save South Africa. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – 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.

GOVT THANKS MARCHERS

Government has commended South Africans for exercising their Constitutional right to protest in a responsible manner.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has provided an update on Friday’s event at a briefing in Pretoria.

Dlodlo thanked protesters for their conduct.

“Friday’s activities were a demonstration of strengthening democracy where citizens are engaged in shaping the public discourse. They also demonstrated a maturing democracy which guaranteed freedom of associations, speech and movement.”

She commended the police for ensuring the safety and security of those involved.

“We also commend the security cluster for their visibility and maintaining order and stability with minimal clashes reported.”

[Watch] #ZumaMustFall - says citizens across SA

In the capital, demonstrators who converged on the Union Buildings said the mass turnout has given them hope for the country’s future.

“We’re all standing together regardless of where we come from, what race we are, what sexuality we are… we’re all standing here to protect our country.”

However, MKMVA members and African National Congress (ANC) supporters from KZN, the Free State and Mpumalanga also marched around the party's headquarters in defence of the president.

Although the Democratic Alliance (DA) made it clear it would not be marching to Luthuli House, the day started with MKMVA members in military uniforms forming a barrier around the ANC headquarters with war cries, saying they were defending the building from harm.

Supporters then joined in and made it clear they were willing to protect Zuma with their lives.

“We’re going to defend him with the best tactic we know how even if it takes our blood.”

An altercation then occurred between ANC supporters and anti-Zuma protesters holding a banner saying: “You Must Be Joking”.

They were kicked and punched before police whisked them away.

ANC Youth League leader Collin Maine addressed supporters.

“Zuma is going nowhere until 2019.”

Four ANC supporters were injured and a DA member was seriously injured after being attacked by the ANC supporters.

No arrests were made.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)