The demonstration, organised by Move One Million, saw participation across the country, as well as the support of residents from 16 other countries.
“Since March 2020, our leaders have been patronising us, instead of protecting us.
“What began as a reasonable approach to keeping South Africa safe under lockdown has turned into a looting frenzy, in which billions of rands have gone missing,” said Move One Million founder Jarette Petzer in a statement.
“Enough is enough! We reject the escalating violent crimes and gender-based violence. We reject the racial baiting and divisive narratives. We reject ongoing poverty, finger pointing, and the lack of accountability.
“The people have, for too long, obeyed a government that divides us, instead of unites us.”
Thousands of protesters gathered in towns and cities across the country – from Cape Town’s Grand Parade to the Union Buildings in Pretoria – while some formed human chains and motorcades.
“There have been thousands and thousands who have taken part, beyond what any of us expected. The outcome has been insane.
“Everyone has been social distancing with their masks on. Some have formed people pods, with only 10 to 15 people gathered together, some have formed human chains and others have had slow drives,” said Move One Million spokesperson Joanita van Wyk.
The organisation has demanded that legal action be taken against senior government officials involved in corrupt activities and total transparency in the revision of the direct electoral process.