#UniteBehind coalition vows to help oust Zuma

2017-08-03 19:43
Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma outside the union building in Pretoria. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma outside the union building in Pretoria. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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Cape Town – The #UniteBehind coalition aims to pile enough pressure on MPs to vote for the removal of President Jacob Zuma during a no confidence motion against him on Tuesday.

"Our duty is to ensure that President Jacob Zuma is recalled by the ANC," said organising secretariat Zackie Achmat at a press conference at the St George's Cathedral in Cape Town.

The #UniteBehind march is one of several marches for and against Zuma next week as he faces the vote amid concerns that the party has turned a blind eye to state capture and the needs of the poor.

READ: #UniteBehind coalition wants public to join their People's March

The ANC is mobilising a march for Tuesday in support of Zuma, while opposition parties are expected to march against the president.

#UniteBehind said their march is not connected to any political party – they just want Zuma to leave.

"People in South Africa feel they are not part of South Africa because of the way they are treated by the government," said Mandisa Dyanti of the Social Justice Coalition.

She said residents of suburbs like Khayelitsha, about 30km from the Cape Town CBD, are fed up with living in filthy, dangerous conditions with low police visibility while the rich have it good.

"The youth are fed up with this," said Dyanti.

Large scale government corruption

Muslim cleric Imam Rasheed Omar said it had been painful for civil society to acknowledge that it had retreated and trusted politicians after the apartheid government was replaced in 1994, but Monday's march is an opportunity to rectify this.

He said he did not believe that Zuma would simply step down, but civil society had to keep up with its newly found robust activism to get him to leave and have fresh elections.

Anglican priest Father Michael Lapsley said the SA Council of Churches (SACC) had already decided that it would no longer accept the moral legitimacy of the South African government.

The church wants Parliament to be dissolved and for fresh elections to be held.

READ: Pro and anti-Zuma marches to take place on #NoConfidence Day

He said the information coming out of the "Unburdening Panel" that the church set up for people to provide information on state capture and government corruption shocked the panel.

Sonke Gender Justice activist Marlise Richter warned that unless something is done, large scale government corruption would filter into the streets. Petty corruption would make the lives of people trying to get government services impossible, unless they paid a bribe.

The coalition of over 20 groups includes Equal Education, Right2Know, Save SA and the Treatment Action Campaign.

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, who reportedly turned down a R600m bribe to become finance minister at the behest of the Guptas, will address the march outside Parliament on Monday.

The coalition would meet at 15:00 at Keizersgracht Street on Monday, and march to Parliament from there.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  state capture  |  protests

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