dglobalnews.com ANC cheers Zuma as the people march
Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

ANC cheers Zuma as the people march

Perhaps realising that removing President Jacob Zuma through a Parliamentary Motion of No Confidence now seems more and more unlikely, opposition parties on Monday announced at a joint press briefing that they will now embark on National Day of Action to the Union Buildings on Wednesday to force the President to resign.

"The racist onslaught has become more direct and is no longer hidden as was the case in the early years of our constitutional democratic order", said Zuma.

Zuma's office said the president would take part in his 75th birthday celebrations on Wednesday at a public venue in the township of Soweto, near the commercial hub of Johannesburg. The cabinet shakeup prompted protest demonstrations around the country, and there is speculation that Zuma could be forced out of office before his term ends.

Opposition parties said the motion would be more likely to succeed if held by secret ballot, allowing for anonymous dissent. The parties said the march was open to anyone to join.

Thousands of people took to the streets after he sacked the finance minister.

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Some top ruling party leaders openly criticized the decision. Markets reacted quickly: South Africa's currency plummeted, and the ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the government's bonds to junk status.

"We have observed in the recent period that the president has, out of desperation, been demonstrating an inclination to invoke the race card in a divisive manner", Save SA said in a statement.

Zuma spent 10 years in the same Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela was held, but his anti-apartheid record has been overshadowed by scandals, including the spending of millions of dollars in state funds on his private home.

Zuma labelled the protests calling for him to step down last week as racist, and his detractors, the SACP, were reportedly sidelined. Opponents described the remark was an affront to legitimate protest. The divided ANC, however, is seeking to project an image of unity and says it will defeat an opposition bid to oust Zuma in a parliamentary vote of no confidence scheduled for April 18.

"We only need 65-70 people from the ANC, and the secret ballot can deliver the votes to remove Zuma", Bantu Holomisa, head of the smaller United Democratic Movement (UDM), told Reuters. The legal challenge has raised the possibility of a delay in the vote, according to South African media.

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