Opposition parties unite against Zuma in National Day of Action

Opposition party leaders held a joint media briefing ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled National Day of Action and the march from Church Square to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: Michelle Bao
Opposition party leaders held a joint media briefing ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled National Day of Action and the march from Church Square to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: Michelle Bao

Several opposition parties have formed a united front against President Jacob Zuma, calling for his removal from office in order to rescue South Africa and to prioritise the good of the country and its citizens.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), African Independent Congress, African People’s Convention, Congress of the People, Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) are planning to hold what they call the “National Day of Action” on Wednesday to continue to exert pressure on the president to step down.

According to a joint statement delivered by UDM President Bantu Holomisa on Monday, protesters from all walks of life and political and social affiliations are encouraged to begin assembling at 9am in Pretoria’s Church Square on Wednesday.

The march to the Union Buildings will then begin at noon.  

The National Day of Action will protest against Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, the resultant investment ranking downgrade and devaluation of the rand, the influence of the Gupta family on the president, as well as the president’s failure to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution”.

Opposition leaders emphasised that permission has been granted for the protest and that it was the people’s democratic right to protest peacefully.

“With regards to the march, we are seeing multi-party democracy at its best,” said Wayne Thring, deputy president of the ACDP.

“We are here because we have a common goal.”

However, opposition leaders condemned any use of intimidation and violence.

“Whether it is one person that has been intimidated or a thousand that have been intimidated, that does not bode well for a democracy,” said IFP national chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

EFF leader Julius Malema reiterated that both on Wednesday and in the future, they would not be bullied or stopped by anyone.

Instead, opposition leaders urged ANC members of Parliament to listen to their conscience and to listen to South Africa, particularly regarding the upcoming vote of no confidence that is scheduled for next Tuesday.

“We are hoping that if they don’t listen to us, they will at least listen to the people who have put them in office” said DA national spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme, citing the thousands of South Africans who participated in protests last week and are expected to participate on Wednesday.

And according to Malema, the National Day of Action was not about parties or politics nor was it about the upcoming vote of no confidence. Rather, it was about South Africa and the mobilisation of the citizens.

“We are bothered about whether or not the masses are really grasping what we are fighting for. Do they understand how this will affect them?” said Malema.

“We owe it to these people who don’t understand what “junk status” means because of their levels of literacy to explain it to them, for them to understand what does this thing mean, to say it in simple terms, in practical terms. What does this mean to a person who stays in a shack who wants to own a house in the future? So we ought to go all out and this mass action is exactly that.”

But ultimately, should the vote of no confidence fail in spite of the protests and marches, opposition leaders are prepared to continue a programme of rolling mass action and to encourage daily actions of protest until the 2019 national elections.

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