President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle caused shockwaves across the nation Friday. Zuma fired five ministers and reshuffled several more including, controversially, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who has been replaced with former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Civil society organisations and ordinary South Africans have already started organising protest marches around the country.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), lobby group Save South Africa, Section 27 and various trade unions held a #OccupyTreasury protest at 10am in Church Square, Pretoria.
Section27 posted on Facebook that it will be joining “millions of South Africans” to reject Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle. “It is not being done to advance our Constitution or to fullfil his duties, but to advance a faction and a gang of serious thieves,” said the organisation.
The group has called on South Africans across the country to mobilise peacefully, no matter where they are. “But wherever you are, get out on the streets. Wear or carry the flag. This is a peaceful and disciplined demonstration.”
— Jonisayi W. Maromo (@Jonisayi) March 31, 2017
— Bafana Nzimande (@nzimandebafana) March 31, 2017
— Sikelelwa Mdingi (@SikiGeyaMdingi) March 31, 2017
Save South Africa and OUTA have also asked South Africans in Cape Town to mobilise against Zuma. Citizens there have gathered outside Parliament.
— Thulani Gqirana (@ThulaniGqirana) March 31, 2017
— Heike Brunner (@heikebru) March 31, 2017
— Carla Bernardo (@CarlaKatjie) March 31, 2017
The Daily Vox has received reports that student leaders in the Johannesburg area are organising a campus shutdown on Monday. Their call is for Zuma to step down and for the shuffled ministers to be given their original portfolios.
The University of Cape Town has also called on members of the campus community to join the protests planned over the next few days. UCT vice chancellor Max Price said in a statement that the university believes “that reshuffling of Cabinet, including the dismissal of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance without explanation, presents a crisis for good governance in South Africa”. State capture must be stopped. South Africans can stop it by demanding an accountable government who abides by the Constitution,” he said.
Democratic Alliance Leader Mmusi Maimane meanwhile has invited the public to a march on Luthuli House next Friday to protest against Zuma and the South African government. Maimane said Parliament appoints the president and it should be Parliament who removes him.
“We must all gather at Luthuli House, gather in Johannesburg to call on the ANC and all the MPs to remove Jacob Zuma. These are extraordinary times and we need to stand together beyond party lines.”
— Nickolaus Bauer (@NickolausBauer) March 31, 2017
South Africans have been vocal about their dissent on Twitter, using the hashtag #CabinetReshuffle.
Economy threatened: #cabinetreshuffle. Whites panic & tweet:”Let’s unite & protest!” Where were u during FMF? Or service delivery protests?
— Pieter Howes (@PieterHowes) March 30, 2017
🇿🇦 is yours & my country. Don’t tweet. Vote. Protest. Meet ur councilor. Serve school GBs. Share with poor. Get involved. #CabinetReshuffle
— Vusi Thembekwayo (@VusiThembekwayo) March 30, 2017
— IG: @AdvBarryRoux (@Barry_Roux) March 31, 2017
Whether the protests will gain momentum or fizzle out remains to be seen.
This list will be updated.
Additional reporting by Nolwandle Zondi