Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Happy birthday, Mr President: A ‘gift’ of rolling mass action from his opponents

Opposition parties have declared Wednesday a “national day of action” and will now embark on a period of “rolling mass action” to unseat President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma will be turning 75 on Wednesday when opposition parties will march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The list of parties preparing to march includes:

  • African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)
  • Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
  • The African Independent Congress (AIC)
  • African People’s Convention (APC)
  • Congress of the People (Cope)
  • AgangSA
  • Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
  • Democratic Alliance (DA)
  • United Democratic Movement (UDM)

At noon on Monday, opposition leaders and members from these parties briefed media on their plans going forward. Reading a press statement issued by the parties, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said that opposition parties are planning this course of united action to put “South Africa and its citizens first”.

EFF leader Julius Malema said South Africans had voted for the ANC to be the governing party, but they didn’t vote for Zuma. Instead, Malema said, the onus was on the ANC to recall Zuma because the party deployed him to be president.

Mass action now being planned by opposition parties will see Wednesday’s march as the catalyst for further protest action around the country. Malema said plans are underway for protests on April 27 – the Freedom Day public holiday which will commemorate South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994.

Holomisa confirmed that permission had been granted for the march to Union Buildings on Wednesday. Last week’s protest action on Friday, organised by civil society, led to confusion after acting police boss Khomotso Phahlane said protesters did not have permission to march on the Union Buildings.

Save South Africa, a civil society group calling for Zuma’s resignation, released the note of permission it had received from the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court for the march to proceed.

Malema said opposition parties will receive a letter saying permission for the march has been granted, which will be distributed on Monday afternoon.

“We are not going to play these games they tried to play with Save SA,” Malema said.

Intimidation and no confidence
On Monday morning, the UDM filed papers at the Constitutional Court requesting that a secret ballot be used in the vote of no confidence in Zuma. The vote has been scheduled in Parliament on April 18.

Holomisa said the chief justice has not yet given direction on the matter, but he is “optimistic we are putting a strong case” because of recent acts of intimidation.

Last Friday, the Mail & Guardian reported that Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, a member of the ANC’s senior national executive committee structure, and ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu have received threats on their lives following their outspoken criticism of Zuma.

Holomisa said the acts of intimidation on Zuma dissenters both inside the party and in opposition parties and civil society may make a stronger case for a secret ballot.

National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete has said a secret ballot is not in Parliament’s rules and MPs are therefore obliged to put their names next to their votes.

DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said the party has received positive feedback from members in the ANC who are willing to vote against Zuma.

“There have been a number of ANC members and MPs who approached our leader, Mmusi Maimane, indicating that they would be willing to support a motion of no confidence and they would speak to some of their colleagues,” Van Damme said.

Malema said that if ANC members cannot vote with opposition parties then they must request a vote of no confidence themselves. The EFF leader said the party would vote with Zuma dissenters in the ANC.

“If they can’t vote with the opposition, let them put the motion themselves,” Malema said.

Opposition parties, civil society organisations and the public have been asked to gather at Church Square in Pretoria from 9am on Wednesday morning. The march is scheduled to proceed to the Union Buildings at 12pm. 

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Soweto teacher dismissed for the alleged repeated rape of a...

The learner was 13 when the alleged rapes started, and they continued for two years until she asked to be moved to another school

First-of-its-kind rangeland atlas pushes for protection

Rangelands are ‘nature’s gift to humanity’, but have been overlooked, neglected

More top stories

Soweto teacher dismissed for the alleged repeated rape of a...

The learner was 13 when the alleged rapes started, and they continued for two years until she asked to be moved to another school

MKMVA accuse top six of being factional in collapsed meeting

A defiant MKMVA has vowed it is business as usual, after a meeting with the top six ended with the military veterans being kicked out of the virtual platform

Gumede graft trial likely to begin only in July next...

The state has added racketeering to the charges faced by the former eThekwini mayor and 21 others, but logistics are likely to delay their trial until mid-2022

Nigeria’s tech community was booming. Now it’s in shock

The government’s sudden ban of Twitter could jeopardise one of the country’s most promising industries
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×