Mass action in city

2017-04-12 14:13
Employees of Blu Gel hair salon held a demonstration to ‘spread love for the rainbow nation’ on last week Friday on New England Road.

Employees of Blu Gel hair salon held a demonstration to ‘spread love for the rainbow nation’ on last week Friday on New England Road. (File Image)

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Motorists may expect delays in the CBD today when the second mass action in less than a week — to demand that President Jacob Zuma step down — hits the city.

Today [Wendesday] is also Zuma’s 75th birthday.

Battle lines have been drawn as the opposition parties intensify their call for Zuma to step down. SaveSA will also be joining the march.

The DA has said its “blue wave would wash” over town on Wednesday [today] as opposition parties close ranks in the National Day of Action.

This follows Friday’s mass anti-Zuma demonstrations held in Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands and other parts of the country.

Zuma will also face a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly next week.

Political parties urged members of society to join today’s activities.

The National Day of Action was called by the African Christian Democratic Party‚ African People’s Convention‚ Congress of the People‚ Democratic Alliance‚ Economic Freedom Fighters‚ Inkatha Freedom Party and the United Democratic Movement who said Zuma’s “careless” Cabinet reshuffle of four finance ministers in three years has plunged the country into junk status. The protest is expected to be joined by civil society groups.

On Friday, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members stormed a DA-organised anti-Zuma demonstration in the CBD, destroying and setting alight a DA gazebo. They also pelted DA members with eggs.

DA provincial deputy leader Mergan Chetty said his party was not afraid of intimidation.

“We are not afraid. If the ANC people are willing to die for Zuma, then we are willing to die for the country, to save the country. The days of intimidation are over. The apartheid government tried it, and they failed.

“We are going to have a placard demonstration and the signing of a petition [calling for Zuma to go] all over town,” he said.

Chetty added that the demonstration would take place from noon today until 5 pm.

The EFF in the region said it had bused over 150 members up to Pretoria to join the national event taking place there. “We strongly believe that the time for Zuma to fall is now,” said Khumbulani Nene of the EFF.

The national event organised by opposition parties will start at Church Square in Pretoria and end at the Union Buildings.

There were unconfirmed reports of EFF action in Pietermaritzburg, however it is unclear what the party has planned for the city.

The ANCYL in the region, which organised a “traffic mob” demonstration in support of Zuma last week, said they will not be holding any counter demonstration today.

“We do not want it to be seen as the opposition parties draw the agenda and we react to their agenda. That will compromise us as an organisation,” said regional secretary Thembinkosi Zondi.

NFP spokesperson Sabelo Sigubudu said their party’s MPs, led by their deputy president Alex Kekana, would be joining the protest.

IFP MP Blessed Gwala said the party would be joining the protests in Pretoria today but that there would be no organised events by the IFP in KZN.

Pietermaritzburg’s Active Citizens Movement (ACM) head Roshan Jainuth said although the organisation would not be protesting today as they did not want to be affiliated with any political parties, they would be holding a prayer for the cause next week.

Lobby group Save SA said it will be joining protest action.

“While we may not share the same political views as the parties that have organised [the] march, we completely share their view that Zuma must resign, and resign now.

“We also believe that the political parties have a constitutional duty to hold president and public representatives accountable, which we support,” the organisation said.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said police were ready for anything.

“We have planned our operations and there are contingency plans in place. We see no problems,” he said.

Wednesday [today] is a normal working day and for most companies, a no work, no pay policy will probably apply for staff who choose to participate in the stay-away, Department of Labour spokesperson Teboho Thejane said.

He said it will be up to employers to engage with their collective bargaining agreements and trade unions, and also the company’s human resources policies on policies for workers wanting to take the day off to protest.

This might require the employee to take a day of their annual leave, or they may stipulate that a “no work, no pay” policy applies.

Immediate operational requirements might also take precedence over whether the employee gets to participate in the protests, said Thejane.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  zuma must fall protests

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