A march by thousands of people to “protect and defend” President Jacob Zuma is expected to take place in Durban tomorrow as planned protests against him take place ahead of parliament’s vote of no confidence.
A coalition of civil society organisations and opposition parties has urged people across South Africa to rally behind their call for MPs to use their conscience when they mark their ballots.
The ANC in the KwaDukuza region, which has organised the march, has accused those organising gatherings against Zuma of colluding in trying to “overthrow a legitimate government.”
So, therefore, the party must make its voice heard.
“As the ANC, we are still confident people will support our call. The president must be defended, he must be protected,” regional secretary Thabani Mdlalose said.
“We took the decision in the regional executive meeting that we will embark on mass action showing solidarity for the ANC and President Zuma. So, thousands will march, pledging solidarity that we have the confidence in the president as the president of the ANC and the president of South Africa.”
KwaZulu-Natal is a Zuma stronghold and one of the ANC’s largest support bases.
Mdlalose added that 77 buses have been hired to transport supporters and claimed to have received confirmation that more than 5 000 people from the ANC, religious and business sectors would join in.
Official opposition the DA has encouraged millions of people to attend gatherings in all provinces to “defend our democracy against the corrupt and captured”.
In KwaZulu-Natal, it plans to hold a rally at the Crusaders Sports Club in Durban North where its provincial leader, Zwakele Mncwango, will be the main speaker. But Mdlalose said while Zuma supporters would not attend the event, the DA would be dealt with “on public platforms”, where they would be exposed for being “opportunistic”.
“Unfortunately, the DA is being opportunistic in trying to gain support of people by saying they want the president to be voted out – the DA don’t have majority in parliament so they will find any hook or crook to gain the support from society.”
Mdlalose pledged that the march from Sadtu Park in KwaDukuza to the Magistrate’s Court in the Durban CBD would be conducted peacefully.
The National Interfaith Council of South Africa (Nicsa), in partnership with Amakhosi endabuko (traditional leaders), said it would hold a mass prayer meeting at Durban City Hall to thwart the plans to “denounce” Zuma and “defend democracy”.
“We regard the marches and the vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma as a ganging up of opposition parties and certain groupings as a clear stand of populism to gain publicity,” it said.
“The attempts to remove a democratically elected president from office by self-positioning statements made by charlatans and political celebrities only aim to confuse the masses.”
Meanwhile, civil society coalition FutureSA’s call for a national day of no confidence to get rid of Zuma was rapidly gaining momentum, it claimed.
“The level of opposition being shown to Zuma is a vivid reminder that South Africans remember the impact of people’s power and are prepared to take to the streets whenever necessary to ensure the people’s views are heard.”
FutureSA called for a countrywide shutdown between 12pm and 2pm tomorrow.
It said this plan received support from the South African Council of Churches, the Federation of Unions of South Africa, the South African Federation of Trade Unions and Business Leadership South Africa.
“As a result, representatives of business, labour and faith-based groups are united in their partnership with civil society to demand that Zuma must go.”