#ZumaMustFall marches in Durban and Joburg get lit, while Cape Town and Pretoria remain calm

Protests around the country calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down went ahead on Friday.

Tensions high in Johannesburg

ANC supporters clashed with protestors who gathered in the Johannesburg city centre on Friday for the #MarchForChange. Although it was calm at Mary Fitzgerald Square, where most of the protesters had gathered, the mood outside Luthuli House was tense.

Earlier this week, the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) vowed to “defend” the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, against protestors. Police fired rubber bullets at a group of MKMVA members who were moving towards the DA #MarchForChange, injuring four people. In a separate incident, a protester wearing a DA flag was severely beaten by ANC supporters.

Around mid-morning, Daily Vox reporter Rumana Akoob saw busses transporting ANC supporters, some armed with knobkerries and golf clubs, to Luthuli House.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who was introduced as “the next president of South Africa”. and appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest under his DA shirt, told the crowd, “We are not a junk country, we have a junk president, and we will remove junk so South Africa will become prosperous.”

Picnic in Pretoria

In Pretoria, The People’s March, coordinated by Save South Africa and allied civil society groups drew massive crowds. South African Federation of Trade Unions leader Zwelinzima Vavi addressed crowd, who chanted “Zuma must fall!” Vavi told the crowd that it had been stupid to support a man with 783 changes against him, and the the country would not allow Zuma to turn South Africa into another Russia.

Protester Dineo Mahlangu told The Daily Vox that she expects Zuma to stand down. “He must resign, because the country is dying, we are in big trouble now … because of fraud, because of the money they are taking, with not consulting the ANC members. I think they don’t care about people, they just make their own. decisions that will benefit them,” she said.

Dineo Mahlangu holds a placard at the #PeoplesMarch in Pretoria

Durban dodges a hiding

In Durban, protesters gathered at the Amphitheatre Gardens on the Durban beachfront early on Friday morning in a DA-led march against Zuma. A march of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members in support of Zuma took place nearby.

DA caucus Leader, Zwakele Mncwango and the chief whip, John Steenhuisen addressed the crowds.

Mncwango addressed the crowds saying: “I’m not here because I hate Zuma but I am here because I love South Africa.Some say this march is Pro-Pravin Gordhan. I actually don’t care about an individual but if Pravin is a leader that will Save South Africa, yes I will support him.”

The crowd dispersed quickly after hearing reports that ANCYL members were heading their way to “give people a hiding”.

ANCYL members headed into the Durban CBD where they waited for the provincial leaders to address them outside an ABSA branch on Smit Street. The group is demanding the bank pay back the billions of rands given to it as a bail-out by the apartheid government.

Thinta Cibane, secretary of the eThekwini branch of the ANCYL said it was no coincidence that the march happened at the same time as that of the DA because they are here for two reasons: “To defend President Zuma and to say to ABSA they must pay back the money. This campaign has been ongoing and it will continue until ABSA brings back the money.”

Cape Town is calm

Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille rallied a crowd of about 1 000 people, many of them DA supporters, at the Grand Parade before the group marched to Parliament. A crowd of bikers drove alongside, lending solidarity.

A separate march, organised by civil society groups including Save SA, SA 1st Forum, Sonke Gender Justice, Social Justice Coalition and others, also marched to Parliament. Crispin Sonn, one of the organisers, said the two protests were unrelated to as civil society is non partisan.

Several separate marches converged on Parliament. Daily Vox reporter Mohammed Jameel Abdulla estimated that there were around 10 000 there. The crowd sang “Zuma Must Fall” to the rhythm of the EFF’s “Zupta Must Fall” track.

By about 1pm people started to disperse. Many of them headed to the pubs, cafés and trendy restaurants in the CBD. By 2pm, Parliament was empty, but a crowd of about 300 protestors continued making their way through the CBD.

Reporting by Mohammed Jameel Abdulla, Rumana Akoob, Lizeka Maduna, Caroline Vakil and Nolwandle Zondi

Featured image by Rumana Akoob

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.