Jonas warns of pinning hopes on political leaders

Cape Town - One of South Africa's biggest mistakes after liberation was to pin its hopes on political leaders and parties, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said at the #UniteBehind coalition’s march to Parliament on Monday.

Standing on the back of a truck outside Parliament, he said state-owned institutions were “centres for money racketeering” and only a mass civil society movement could hold them to account.

“We cannot rely on the fact that those in government will always do good, because they have demonstrated that it is impossible to always do good,” said Mcebisi, who was sacked with former finance minister Pravin Gordhan in a Cabinet reshuffle in March this year. 

Jonas claimed last year he turned down R600 000 in cash and a further R600m bank transfer which the wealthy Gupta family offered him in October 2015 to become the next finance minister.

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He warned that Tuesday's motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma might not solve the country's problems, adding that the ANC's December elective conference should also not be regarded as a solution.

“What is important is, as society, we must build together.”

Jonas and SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila linked arms and walked with the large gathering to Parliament to call on MPs remove Zuma.

Image: Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas with SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila. (Jenni Evans, News24)

"I am marching with the people so that we can remove President Zuma and stop corruption," said Mapaila, whose organisation is an ally of the ANC, but wants the president to resign.

SA Council of Churches president Ziphozihle Siwa warned Zuma that if he did not step down, South Africa would “come for you”.

Equal Education organiser Vuyisa Mbayi said the school children in the march were there because they knew corruption deprived them of decent schools.

“We are here to say that state capture is just as much a violation of human rights as apartheid was,” she said. 

"Today we are here as the real Cape Town and the real South Africa," said activist Zackie Achmat, who is also the organising secretariat of #UniteBehind.

Farmworker Betty Fortuin said MPs must stop thinking with their stomachs. "They must come back to us, to grass-root level," she shouted.

Advocate Eric Phindela, for Parliament, accepted a memorandum in which the marchers call for Zuma’s removal.

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