While civil society representatives were delivering their speeches at the people’s march in Pretoria, news of a ratings downgrade by Fitch started to filter through the crowd.
“We are not a junk country we just have a junk president,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane told those gathered to protest against president Jacob Zuma’s leadership.
The decision by Fitch followed in the tracks of S&P Global, which announced its downgrade of South Africa on Monday citing political instability.
A crowd of more than 30 000 people gathered at the Union Buildings lawns to protest against Zuma.
Organisers of today’s march say this is only the beginning of mass civic action in an effort to force Zuma out of office.
Save South Africa’s Mark Heywood said while Zuma’s resignation would be the beginning of justice in South Africa, more would need to be done to ensure an end to inequality.
“Justice only finishes when everybody has a good school. When everybody has a good clinic and a hospital,” Heywood said.
Despite the support of business leaders at today’s march Heywood also reminded big business that it has a major role to play in South Africa’s current problems.
“Business leaders who are now saying they support this people’s movement, you have been part of the problem. And we need you now to help us fix this problem. Big business and capital have been part of the problem and they must share their wealth,” he said.
Meanwhile, the South African Federation of Trade Unions leader Zwelinzima Vavi told demonstrators that he along with other leaders had made a mistake by endorsing Zuma to become president.
“Let me give you a quick history lesson. We made a mistake in elevating a crook who was facing 783 charges. The first thing he did was to dissolve the scorpions and some of us stupidly gave himself round of applause,” he said.
Today’s march was attended by representatives from political parties such as the DA, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and SACP. It will be followed by another March to the Union Buildings next week which will be led by opposition parties.