Thousands gather outside Parliament as no confidence vote looms

Thousands of marchers are gathered outside the parliamentary precinct where opposition parties, trade unions & civil society bodies have rallied people to call for Zuma to go.

Hundreds of people gathered at Keizersgracht Street as they prepared to march to Parliament on Tuesday 8 August 2017. Picture: Cindy Archilles/EWN

CAPE TOWN - It is all eyes on Parliament at this hour where debate on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is set to get underway.

Thousands of marchers are gathered outside the parliamentary precinct where opposition parties, trade unions and civil society bodies have rallied people to call for Zuma to go.

They include opposition parties and church organisations.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) have formed a coalition to march in Cape Town.

DA leaders Mmusi Maimane has urged MPs to put the people of South Africa first.

“As life is getting hard for our people, it’s important that we put South Africans first. Today MPs get to exercise their vote by using a secret ballot. I want to urge all ANC MPs to vote with their conscience today. Let us vote to remove Jacob Zuma so that we can start moving South Africa in the right direction.”

Voting on the motion will be carried out by secret ballot after the debate ends. The outcome will be announced only once the votes have been counted and audited.

High-spirited African National Congress (ANC) MPs spilled out of their caucus meeting singing: “what has Zuma done”.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu’s confident the motion will not succeed, saying his MPs won’t vote for the opposition

“The president was also toyi-toying in there and the deputy president… all of us, we were in there in this mood because we are under attack. When we are under attack our salvation normally is [in] our struggle songs.”

Struggle stalwart and veteran ANC MP Ebrahim Ebrahim said: “I’m going to vote with my conscience, which means I will never vote for the opposition under any circumstances.”

Party colleague Derek Hanekom’s mind was made up long ago.

“I will do as I have said before, I will do what I believe is right.”

Secretary General Gwede Mantashe briefed the caucus meeting. He’s made it clear ANC MPs’ duty lies in defending the party.

PRETORIA MARCH

In Pretoria, EFF members are marching from Church Square to the Union Buildngs, calling on MPs to make sure that Zuma steps down.

A marcher says it’s time for Zuma to go.

“I’m hoping that when President Zuma is removed even the Guptas will go back where they belong. Our country will be better without the Guptas.”

Many are signing songs as the marchers make their way to the Union Buildings.

EFF Gauteng leader Benjamin Disoloane has urged them to not allow criminal elements to infiltrate the march.

“All the members and other organizations that are here, please let's march together with a high discipline.”

Disoloane says the marchers will wait at the seat of government until the vote of no confidence against the president is concluded.

JOHANNESBURG MARCH

In Johannesburg, EFF supporters are making their way to the Gauteng legislature to hand over a memorandum.

Johannesburg Metro Police Spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said: “The route will include Harrison Street, Lilian Ngoyi Street and the Nelson Mandela Bridge. Motorists are requested to cooperate with officers who will be directing traffic along the route.”

Meanwhile, demonstrators taking part in a pro-Zuma march in KwaZulu-Natal are now outside the Kwadukuza Magistrates Court.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)