A crowd of several thousand people under the ‘Unite Behind’ coalition took to the streets of Cape Town on Monday afternoon as the country geared up for Tuesday’s much-anticipated vote on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
The march – one of several planned for the city over Monday and Tuesday – took place as speaker Baleka Mbete announced she would allow a secret ballot for Tuesday’s vote on the motion of no confidence in Zuma.
Monday’s protest by a coalition made up of civil society organisations, religious organisations, members of the legal fraternity, and ordinary citizens, wound its way from Kaizergracht Street to the parliamentary precinct.
A number of organisations and businesses, including the SA First Forum, Women on Farms, Sygnia, the Right2know campaign and Equal Education took part in the march that sought to bring pressure to bear on MPs to vote for the removal of Zuma.
A woman from Salt River, who gave her name as Fagmieda, said: “We here for what we believe in, we don’t believe in our leader. I am ashamed to say that I voted for people who sold us out, they see us as pounds and rands, not as people. Land for people, not profit, we must reject every political diversion and govern us according to the constitution.”
A further two marches are scheduled to take place in Cape Town on Tuesday, one by the local African National Congress region in support of Zuma and one by opposition parties against his continued leadership.
Western Cape police said they would be out in full force during the demonstrations and have set up a provincial joint operations and intelligence structure (ProvJoints) “in anticipation of score of of people descending on the city centre”.
“Business owners are advised to exercise discretion in relation to operating hours on the days in question. March organisers and participants are urged to conduct themselves within the parameters of the law,” South African Police Services said.
“As law enforcement agencies within the ProvJoints, we recognise citizens’ right to protest. However, the right to protest comes with responsibility. Destruction of property, looting and other unlawful conduct will not be tolerated.”