Protests against South African President Jacob Zuma continue with a National Day of Action planned for Wednesday.
Opposition parties and civil society groups say they are joining forces on what will be Zuma’s 75th birthday, to march in what they say will be the first of many mass action protests to demand change.
“As leaders, we shall never abandon our responsibility to put South Africa first,” said representatives of a coalition of opposition parties who issued a joint statement appealing for action.
They include the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters and United Democratic Alliance. The opposition parties said they are responding to the mismanagement that has damaged the South African economy, devalued the rand and resulted in last week’s financial ratings downgrade.
Other grievances include the long shadow of corruption that has fallen across Zuma’s tenure, and the potential for yet another no-confidence vote in parliament next week.
Zuma’s remarks Monday, dismissing the mass protests and calling them racist, also were taken to task.
“President Zuma’s comments today slamming these mass marches across the country and claiming that they were inspired by racism clearly shows that he is out of touch with the South African public’s very valid anger over his destructive leadership,” said the DA in a separate statement.
“His comments also undermine legitimate protests and exposes how little he cares about South Africans and their concerns,” the party added.
“If Zuma refuses to hear the people’s cries, we must make sure he does. We have the power to do so and must march en masse so that he will have no choice but to hear us.”
Image: Democratic Alliance