South African opposition marks Zuma's birthday with protest

Jerome Frank
April 15, 2017

The march will start at Church Square in Pretoria and end at the Union Buildings.

Still, SA remains at risk of further downgrades and the political situation is far from stable. As Peter Granitz reports from Pretoria, pressure is mounting on the president from both outside and inside his party.

The EFF's Julius Malema said South Africa can not be defeated by an "illiterate president".

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini wished Zuma to stay strong "during these hard, trying times, as a father, husband and leader".

Ironically, Wednesday is also former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan's birthday.

Ndima said the group had taken the decision to raise their concerns within recognised party structures, believing that this would be more effective.

South Africa has also been downgraded to junk status by two credit ratings agencies since Zuma announced the changes, with some economists fearing that the country is headed for another downgrade. The parties dubbed Wednesday's march "a national day of action".

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Zuma spent 10 years in the same Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela was held, but his anti-apartheid record has been overshadowed by scandals, including the spending of millions of dollars in state funds on his private home.

The economic situation has deeply worsened, over the last six years.

"We need to make progress in black economic empowerment to promote true economic freedom", Zuma said.

The president would later take part in his 75th birthday celebrations at a public venue in the township of Soweto, near the commercial hub of Johannesburg. Opponents described the remark as an affront to legitimate protest and said the president was trying to deflect attention from the groundswell of discontent.

That, to date, over half a million South Africans have already signed the online version of the petition is a remarkable showing of rejection for Jacob Zuma, and an endorsement of the DA and other opposition parties' campaign to see Zuma being fired by Parliament.

A parliamentary vote on a no-confidence motion in Zuma scheduled for April 18 may have to be delayed after the Constitutional Court said final submissions in a court case seeking a secret ballot are due three days later.

"There are no UDM members in KZN, so Holomisa and them can bus in marchers if they like, because no ANC members from KZN will join them", said Zuma, adding that they still backed the president despite the recent anti-Zuma protests.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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