Thousands marched in the #OppositionMarch on the Union Buildings on Wednesday calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign (on his birthday, to boot). The Daily Vox Team asked protesters why they were there and what they’d like to see from government.
Lebogang Mlangeni, 27, nursing student, Limpopo
I was not at the march on Friday, I was not allowed to [because of work]. I want Julius Malema to be the president of South Africa. We are going to strike until Zuma steps down. Even the ANC said they don’t want him, they are tired. We are united as South Africans, but they [the ANC] don’t think that we are. I don’t like Zuma, I am a student, but even when I finish [studying] I won’t get a job with corruption. I don’t want Zuma .
Carl Schultz, 47, businessman, Benoni
We need to come together and say we need to respect the constitution. The constitution was written to protect all of the people of South Africa. Anybody who violates the constitution should not be in charge or leading people in South Africa. The constitution is there to protect all of South Africans and we must protect that, and that’s why we’re standing here.
I don’t have anyone in mind [to be president], I would like to say the president of the ACDP, but obviously we don’t have the numbers. 2019, we’ll see what happens. What I’m seeing in South Africa now is the face of politics is changing. I’m seeing people come together from different parties, working together to achieve a goal. And in 2019 that’s what i think we need to see – a multiparty democracy, where minorities are represented in parliament.
We have to fight poverty, we have to fight hunger, we have to educate people, we have to fight for the rights of the people who cannot fight for themselves. That’s what we need to unite on, and not a few people having everything and many people having nothing. There’s opportunities in South Africa for everyone.
Nthabiseng Mudau, 30, HR Personnel, Pretoria
I’m here because I want Zuma to resign, he’s ruining our freedom. This is not what we voted for. I think Cyril Ramaphosa [should replace Zuma] because they already have everything, so he won’t be corrupt.
Eventually [race divisions and other social issues are] going to stop, for now I think it’s going on but it’s going to stop, like last week on Friday we were with whites here, we were striking, united, I think either way, somewhere along the way it’s going to stop, but now it’s still there. Zuma is making [matters] worse; at least it’s uniting us.
Lucas Khoza, 20, student
I am protesting today because our president has done some changes and our economy is falling apart because of what he created. We think Jacob Zuma must fall because he was given a chance to prove himself to the people, but he never took that chance. He was thinking of himself and his family. There are a lot of people suffering in our country, they needs jobs, they need something to eat in their houses but Jacob Zuma only thinks of himself.
I don’t want to say EFF will do better or DA will do better because we don’t know their intentions. All the political parties will promise you the same things and then when they get the chance to lead the country, they think for themselves.
I think they [the eight political parties] will always divide us, every political party member here is willing to take the seat after Zuma falls. But if we are one nation, we can have one political party that will be leading us all, then that will never divide us. It will be an undivided nation.
Sharon Letlape, 23, treasurer general for the EFF Student Command
Students have been crying out frequently for free higher education, the EFF has been crying out about service delivery. We mobilised people to come here so that South African people can have one voice to say that Zuma must leave the office because he has not been doing his job.
You can never divide this revolution with class and race. We still fight racism, we still fight rape, we still fight oppression of women, those are struggles. But in this one, all of us must come together for one common goal and our common goal is to get rid of Zuma.
We don’t just want Zuma to step down. Zuma only became president since the 2000s. The ANC have been in power, they haven’t really done anything for people of South Africa. So we’re not saying Zuma must step down and we’re happy with the ANC. We’re still not happy with the ANC and we’re still saying that the EFF must rule South Africa. The only person who’s going to replace Zuma is Julius Malema.
Today must be a day where Zuma knows we don’t want him. If a country can march, it should speak to his conscience. I have no better wishes for Zuma. The only thing I wish him to do is step down.
Reporting and images by Rumana Akoob, Mihlali Ntsabo and Nolwandle Zondi.