NEWS

Groups Unite For Anti-Zuma Freedom Day Protests

A group of civil society groups, political parties and labour representatives have launched the Freedom Movement, and say citizens must not get "tired" of protesting.

20/04/2017 14:02 SAST | Updated 20/04/2017 14:38 SAST
Paul Hackett / Reuters
Desmond Tutu.

Civil society groups, religious, labour and opposition groups have formed a new movement which will hold mass action events on Freedom Day, 27 April.

At the launch of the Freedom Movement at the Hector Pietersen Memorial in Soweto on Thursday, political analyst Prince Mashele called the movement a "united call to action by patriotic South Africans."

"Our beloved country South Africa has been plunged into a crisis never seen since 1994. It is a crisis of a political leadership that has allowed our state to be hijacked by corrupt interests at the expense of the poor, the marginalised and patriotic South Africans. The mismanagement of our country has now reached a boiling point. It threatens to collapse the economy," Mashele said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the objective was to find a way to ensure the country was prosperous for everyone.

"This is us saying, we are better if we stand together," Maimane said. He said this meant standing together against "one individual."

United Democratic Front (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said "radical economic transformation" had become synonymous with "radical looting."

He said that the group called for a national convention where all political parties and interest groups could be represented. Holomisa said he had written to the secretary general of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, about this.

Maimane added that the group had spoken to opposition parties in the SADC region about supporting their protest action.

The parties were joined by trade union groups Fedusa and Solidarity, as well as the National Religious Council and Nelson Mandela's former PA, Zelda Le Grange.

The idea has received support from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu:

The movement says its objectives are to ensure Zuma is removed from power, protect the Constitution, restore power to the people and safeguard the state.

Holomisa said there came a time when political parties had to put their differences aside and "close ranks."

The parties were asked whether they risked invoking fatigue amongst South Africans who had already seen three consecutive weeks of protests following the cabinet reshuffle that saw Pravin Gordhan fired as finance minister.

Maimane quoted Cope leader Terror Lekota, who was absent from the event, who said it was important to have the "stamina for struggle."

Mashele said the country should caution against becoming fatigued.

"We must not get tired. Zuma will destroy this country. We cannot afford to get tired," Mashele said.