12/04/2017 09:54 SAST | Updated 13/04/2017 06:21 SAST

As It Happened: 'Mickey Mouse' Party Protests And Zuma's Kliptown Birthday Bash

A large birthday bash has been planned for President Jacob Zuma, on the same day as the #NationalDayofAction.

Courtney Kang/HuffPost SA

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Zuma thinks he is being opposed because he talks about the land.

Zuma has dismissed the opposition parties who organised a march of thousands against him earlier in the day as "mickey mouse" parties.

Zuma says opposition parties are against him because that is their job.

Zuma says these have been trying times, but he is not worried.

President Jacob Zuma has thanked ANC supporters for organising his birthday party, saying he was shocked to find out they had done so.

The only other member of the top six who attended the celebrations, deputy secretary general Jesse Duarte, said today was a day to thank Zuma.

"This is indeed a day when we should be thanking you for a number of things. Thank you for teaching us that now is not the time to be weak and frail, but to be courageous with them... not to share a platform with our enemies or walk shoulder to shoulder with them but to show them that the ANC lives and the ANC leads.

"After years of being insulted, thank you for the fact that you are here today... thank you for teaching us that anger doesn't feed hungry mouths."

Dlamini has urged the rest of the country to do defend the country, even as thousands marched against him earlier in the day.

President of the ANCWL and minister of social development, Bathabile Dlamini said Zuma had "infected the country with your infectious smile."

"We are led by a very strong leader who has protected the organisation," she said.

But Msholozi was not paying attention. Awks.

Zuma's supporters issued glowing messages of support, even as thousands had protested against him just hours before.

President Jacob Zuma's birthday event is underway in Kliptown and his key allies are in attendance. The event is clearly an ANC one.

Water and sanitation minister, Nomvula Mokonyane says there are 20 000 people attending the birthday bash.

A pastor at Zuma's birthday president says God does not judge. Luckily twitter was on hand to fact check the claim...

President Zuma's birthday bash has kicked off in Kliptown with glowing praises from spiritual leaders, who insist the president is here to stay.

With his detractors are dispersing in Pretoria, the stage is set for Zuma in Kliptown as his supporters prepare for a large birthday bash. While it is unclear who is footing the bill, eNCA reported that the event appeared to be coordinated by the ANC and not government.

Thousands of people are expected to attend, once again braving the wet and cold weather. Zuma is expected to address the crowd. It's been reported that the ANCYL will mobilise supporters from Gauteng and surrounding areas to attend the event.

Zuma, who turns 75 today, shares his birthday with sacked finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

And with that, the crowd has begun to disperse.

Malema launched a scathing attack on Zuma and said that it was important to listen to elders like former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe who have called on ANC MPs to vote with their consciences during the vote of no confidence debate.

Malema: we want to thank President Motlanthe, President Mbeki for speaking out. They have no interest, let's listen to them

EFF leader Julius Malema said the opposition had gathered "with the purpose of uniting our country".

"Zuma is going to leave office... this office belongs to the people of South Africa... this is not the Nkandla compound. He must go back to the village."

Malema said Zuma could only look after cattle. He said the marchers had no memorandum because Zuma could not read.

"... someone who does not have a relationship with books. We don't want to waste paper and ink..."

Malema said the march was not a once-off event.

"This is rolling mass action. We are coming to Free State, Western Cape, Mpumalanga...

"If not wanting Zuma is racist, then we are racist. If not wanting Zuma means we have received money from white people, then we are proud to have received money from white people... we are here to defend the country of our children," he said.

Save SA leader, Sipho Pityana says the president and the union buildings have been captured.

Opposition leaders have addressed the crowd calling for Zuma to go:

The DA's Phumzile van Damme said:

"They tried to divide us, telling us we were racists but all South Africans want Zuma to phuma!"

The ACDP's Wayne Thring said that the march would be the end of the road for Zuma. He said the firing of Pravin Gordhan was the straw that broke the camels back of South Africans, and that this march was not a racist march.

"What was Pravin's crime? It was none other than he was competent," Thring said.

The official programme is under way outside the Union Buildings.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa addressed the crowd.

"We should be proud of this display of patriotism. We are here to sent a signal to the ruling party that although t we respect the electorate that gave it a mandate to serve, we are concerned about corruption, poverty, unemployment... but chief among this is our waning economy. Recent events have resulted in... ratings agency have downgraded us...

"Levels of poverty will rise, and employment will decrease... everyone will suffer."

Meanwhile, at ANN7... "Zuma 'unites' divided opposition."

Julius Malema has urged marchers to come closer to the front of the lawns to present Zuma with his "birthday gift".

Police have cordoned off the area with barbed wire as marchers begin to gather outside the Union Buildings. A heavy police presence awaits the anti-Zuma protest, although the police have previously said they expect the march to be peaceful.

Marchers have arrived at the Union Buildings and have begun gathering on the lawns.

Protesters are moving through the streets in their thousands, chanting "Zuma must fall!".

EFF leader Julius Malema has called for the marchers to mix together, so that a variety of parties can be seen.

"Allow other parties to be amongst you. We don't want to see only red here. We want to see a mixture of all parties."

Protesters have begun their march to the Union Buildings, through the streets of Pretoria.

Police are reportedly expecting 10 000 people to reach the Union Buildings by Wednesday afternoon, and the march has been peaceful so far. A wide variety of political parties have joined hands calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign.

A shot from the air of the crowd shows scores of blue and red t-shirts.

The call for Zuma to fall could not have come on a more unfortunate day for the President: his birthday. And not only is it his birthday, but Zuma shares his special day with Pravin Gordhan. Huffington Post SA editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee writes that while the two share a birthday, they could not be further apart on the political divide.

Read her analysis here.

This supporter took the call for Zuma to fall a step further. (Wait for the remix.)

The Freedom Front Plus has warned that while it does not oppose the march, opposition parties should ensure that the impact of the action is not lost by overdoing it.

FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald said:

"Protest actions that arise spontaneously from the public also carries more weight since the ANC will downplay any action coming from political parties as mere political point scoring. Spontaneous action from the public will also not be so easy to dismiss as insignificant and the government will have to take notice of the problem. In this regard, the FF Plus also call on church and spiritual leaders to give guidance where the moral decay in the ANC must be addressed strongly.

"The FF Plus participated in the march of SaveSA last Friday in solidarity with the citizens of the country, and will also participate in the action planned by SaveSA on 18 April when the motion of no confidence against pres Zuma will be debated in parliament.

"The FF Plus will definitely support the motion of no confidence."

(Read the full statement here."

Numbers are growing at Church Square in Pretoria ahead of the march. Hundreds of supporters from the EFF and the DA have arrived, along with several other opposition parties. The UDM's Bantu Holomisa told Huffington Post SA that he would be satisfied with 5000 supporters today, but the police are preparing for up to 10 000.

Numbers growing in #ChurchSquare for #NationalDayofAction #OppositionPartiesMarch
The #Tshwane CBD is buzzing! @EFFSouthAfrica @Our_DA pic.twitter.com/XP05Z1mYOq

Despite the wet weather, thousands of supporters are gathering at Church Square in Pretoria, preparing to march to the Union Buildings.

Those involved in the protests include the DA, EFF, ACDP, IFP and UDM. Late on Tuesday, Azapo announced it would join the action.

Arrangements were made for EFF supporters who relied on buses to get to and from the march.

Thousands are expected to descend on Church Square in Pretoria on Wednesday in an effort to put pressure on Zuma to resign.