The anti-Zuma protests won’t get rid of JZ – but this is why they still matter

By Gabisile Ngcobo
07 April 2017

Ralph Mathekga, a leading political analyst and author of the book When Zuma Goes, weighs in.

Nkandla, State-Capture, Nenegate, #Cabinetreshuffle – he's caused nationwide outrage time and time again.

And thousands of South Africans want Jacob Zuma to go.

So they've taken to the streets to march, chant and join hands against a president who they believe no longer serves the nation. Cries of "Zuma must fall" can be heard echoing from the Union Buildings in Pretoria to Parliament in Cape Town.

But is this mass action enough to make Zuma go?

According to Ralph Mathekga, a leading political analyst and author of the book When Zuma Goes, probably not.

But these marches aren’t all about gaining victory.

Read more: Hundreds join hands to create human chain that stretches across Cape Town – see the photos

“It’s not about having a single objective but about driving a message and people saying they matter as shareholders in South Africa’s democracy to a point where they’re willing to raise those concerns in a public forum such as on the streets.”

Mathekga believes that these protests do matter because they constitute the breath and lifeline of SA’s democracy.

“It’s not about removing Zuma now but about people saying they have an opinion about his leadership. That’s how I see those marches."

Read more: IN PICTURES: Powerful photos from all over the country as #SAunites

According to this analyst, this is the ANC’s opportunity to reflect on the leader that people are saying is not the right for the country and has lost course.

“It’s up to the ANC to reflect on how far they’re willing to go in supporting Zuma at an expense of the party losing confidence as far as the people are concerned.”

He thinks this fiasco is beyond Zuma.

“Yes, Zuma is an epitome of disaster,” Mathekga says.

But this will also hurt the party in the long run and will be punished in the polls in 2019.

He doesn’t believe that this is the time for the divide and rule narrative that has been making rounds on social media.

Mathekga says it’s patronising that there should be issues that concerns the white and those that affect black South Africans.

“It is nonsense that black people aren’t interested in the economy even the poor of the poor feel the pinch if the economy isn’t performing very well.”

He says what he finds more horrific about this statement is that is there’s a belief that blacks have no stake in the economy.

“It patronises black people to think that they aren’t interested in the economy," he tells YOU.

“It also says that there are those people who think it’s their right to determine issues that are important for black and white people.”

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