The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has called on members of society to support Friday’s march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
The call comes following Zuma’s late night Cabinet reshuffle last week, which included the axing of finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas. Since then, former transport minister Dipuo Peters – who was also fired from her portfolio – has resigned as a member of parliament.
“The foundation is supportive of any initiative of this nature, provided that these are legal, peaceful and that its leadership is visible,” said the foundation’s director, Neeshan Balton.
“We are pleased that a year after anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada’s letter to President Zuma urging him to step down, various other organisations have shared similar sentiments calling for the president to be held to account.”
Friday’s march forms part of a range of initiatives planned by various organisations over the past week calling for Zuma’s head.
South Africa has since been downgraded to junk status by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global.
Organisations expected to join the march include the SA Communist Party, trade union federation Cosatu, the SA Federation of Trade Unions, the National Religious Leaders Council, 101 Veterans, Save South Africa, Section 27 and the Treatment Action Campaign.
The march is expected to begin at 12pm at Church Square, where participants will them proceed to the Union Buildings.
Balton added that the foundation would this weekend convene a consultative meeting that “seeks to bring together all organisations who have expressed a sentiment similar that of Kathrada’s, calling on President Jacob Zuma should step down”.
“The meeting will accordingly enable different organisations to share their plans and to participate in discussions on the possibilities for joint and collective action.
Attendees expected include representatives of labour and political formations, academia, faith-based organisations, women and youth groups, legacy foundations, NGOs, advocacy groups and civil society organisations, arts and culture groupings and members of the communication and legal fraternities.
The late struggle veteran who died at age 87 last week had, in part, penned the following to Zuma in 2016:
“Dear Comrade President, don’t you think your continued stay as President will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?
“And bluntly, if not arrogantly; in the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down?
“If not, Comrade President, are you aware that your outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle stands to be severely tarnished if the remainder of your term as President continues to be dogged by crises and a growing public loss of confidence in the ANC and government as a whole.”