A group of civil society leaders are urging South Africans to make Freedom Day a ‘day of action’ by urging President Jacob Zuma to step down. The group, including political leaders, religious leaders and members of the judiciary are calling on South Africans to mobilise on April 27 to demand Zuma’s resignation, with talks and discussions kicking off this weekend.
ANC stalwarts, civil society organisations and religious leaders are calling for mass action to recall President Jacob Zuma. The Unite Against Corruption Steering Committee is encouraging nationwide dialogues and public consultations on Saturday 16 April, in the lead up to a campaign of mass action on Freedom Day, with the aim to remove President Zuma from office.
Last week, following the Constitutional Court ruling, which found that the president flouted the Constitution, and the DAs failed attempt to get Zuma impeached, over two dozen individuals from religious and civil society groups met on the steps of the Constitutional Court to call for Zuma to step down.
Ahmed Kathrada led the way earlier this month, when he came out against Zuma, saying that ‘the people’s interest must at all times remain supreme’.
“I am not a political analyst, but I am now driven to ask: ‘Dear Comrade President, don’t you think your continued stay as President will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?’” wrote Kathrada, adding:
“And bluntly, if not arrogantly; in the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down?”
Former ANC treasurer general, Mathews Phosa reportedly said that the party is in need of a new beginning. And former Finance and Cabinet minister Trevor Manuel has also urged Zuma to resign. In an exclusive interview with Soweto TV, last week, Manuel said that the ‘violation of the key oath of office’ is a ‘deep crisis’.
— IG: SowetoTV (@SowetoTVchannel) April 5, 2016
Last week, ANC veterans such as Cheryl Carolus, Ronnie Kasrils and Zwelinzima Vavi, as well as prominent individuals such as Bishop Jo Seoka and former Constitutional Court Judge Zac Yacoob came out to urge South Africans to join their campaign for the removal of President Zuma.
“The approach is that we should target [Freedom Day] with different forms of action. On the 16 April, people will discuss the best way to act. The different assemblies will decide what action to take in Cape Town, Grahamstown, Johannesburg and so on,” said Dinga Sikwebu, a member of Unite Against Corruption Steering Committee, who says that they are engaging the public to ensure that the mass action is ‘a democratic process’.
“We don’t want to do things in a top down manner. This is not just a once off event, as if to say march then Zuma will resign. It is a long haul that needs creative approaches. We need broad consultation so what will happen on Saturday is to come up with ideas in terms of what to do next,” said Sikwebu.