Thousands march on Union Buildings

2017-04-07 16:38
Crowds gather outside the Union Buildings. (Adriaan Basson, News24)

Crowds gather outside the Union Buildings. (Adriaan Basson, News24)

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Pretoria - South Africans who marched to the Union Buildings on Friday have called on the ruling party to take a stand and choose the people over President Jacob Zuma.

Thousands of people gathered at Church Square in Pretoria Central on Friday morning with the intention of making their voice heard.

Young and old, across all racial spectrums, they all had one main message: "Zuma Must Go!"

A pensioner from Johannesburg said she had come to the march to help contribute toward bettering the country.

"We want Zuma to go, he's done too much harm. There's a lot going on because of him. He must step down, he must go," she told News24.

A middle-aged woman from Pretoria said it was time for South Africans to stand together to protect the country.

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"I think it's time that everyone stands together, we've got a wonderful country and a wonderful future if we just have the right leadership. It's time for us to stand up for the people in South Africa rich and poor, especially the poor who have been promised housing and nothing is happening because the funds are being used for personal use by someone who is supposed to be the father of our country, and that is not how a father treats his children," she said.

'Junk president'

She said she hoped Zuma would be forced to resign and that a new leader would be appointed.

"But most important to me is, Zuma must go," she said.

A young woman from Pretoria said she was at the march to make sure her voice was heard.

"It's not fair for Zuma to get away with what we as normal people wouldn't get away with. If we are locked up [for breaking the law], he must also get locked up, it's not fair," she said.

What began with less than 100 people at Church Square at around 08:00 quickly turned to thousands.

By 11:00, protesters marched, danced and sang songs, insulting Zuma along Madiba Street.

Marchers were met with a police contingent and barbed wire strewn across the fence separating the Union Buildings from the south lawns.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane told the crowd: "We don't have a junk country, we have a junk president."

He said South Africans had to take back their country from those who were abusing it.

SA Communist Party deputy secretary general Solly Mapaila once again voiced the African National Congress alliance partner's call for Zuma to step down, saying the voices of the people should be heard.

"Zuma must go and the Guptas must leave our country," he told the crowd, to applause.

'Days are numbered'

Former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told the crowd that he and others in the past had made the mistake of elevating Zuma to a level which he did not deserve, saying they had blindly supported him at the time.

"Your days are numbered, Zuma. Voetsek, Zuma," he said.

Save SA leader Sipho Pityana pleaded with leaders in the ruling party to listen to the voices of their members and do the right thing on April 18.

"Let the South African not be under any doubt, we are going to walk this journey until Zuma goes. It doesn't matter how long it takes, they may pretend to be deaf. The more they pretend to be deaf, the more thunderous our voice is going to become."

Pityana said, when Zuma was not getting briefed in Saxonwold, living it up in Dubai or selling out in Russia, he occasionally occupied the offices at the Union Buildings.

"That man may be in the office comrades and friends, but he is not in power. He is a puppet, he is a scrooge, a front for the Guptas and the clique of criminal and greedy cronies. He must go!"

He said the Union Buildings were being occupied by a leader who was discredited, dishonest and prepared to sell his soul, the soul of the ANC, as well as the country's.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  da  |  save sa  |  mmusi mai­mane  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  sipho pityana  |  pretoria  |  protests  |  politics

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