Pretoria – Not even the rain could curb the early morning enthusiasm as protesters slowly started to gather at Church Square in Pretoria for the Save SA march to the Union Building later on Friday.
The march is one of many planned around the country after President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle last week during which Pravin Gordhan was fired as finance minister, prompting an investment status downgrade to “junk” by ratings agency Standard and Poor’s.
A handful of protesters sang and danced while displaying placards in which their message is clear: “Jacob Zuma must go.”
There was some confusion on Thursday evening whether the march will go on or not, with Acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane saying it was illegal. But once the Pretoria magistrate’s court declared the march legal, it was clear that all is set for the protest action to go-ahead..
Braving the early morning rain, while clutching a placard that Zuma must now step down, Moses Ngoepe said enough is enough.
“Nothing will stop us taking to the streets today. We are tired of this man. I am not willing to pay R100 for a loaf of bread soon. Our message is clear that the people of South Africa must stand together and defend our democracy.”
Laurance Sadiki is another protester who called on all South Africans to show their solidarity today. “This man (Zuma) is the reason why we are struggling. If we do not stop him for once and for all, it will be too late. I don’t want to end up sleeping in the streets, just because of that man.”
The SACP march, which was also due to take place in Pretoria on Friday, has meanwhile been postponed for two weeks as they did not get the official go-ahead for the march. They were due to hand over a memorandum to treasury.
It is expected that the SACP marchers will now join the Save SA march, which is expected to kick off around noon.
The streets in an around the city is meanwhile extremely quiet, with hardly any traffic. It is expected that many people working in the CBD will stay home, as various business along the route leading to the Union Buildings will close their doors.