Gordhan was rushed out of St George’s Cathedral after delivering a scathing speech against the government at the Cape Town leg of a series of memorial services on Thursday in honour of anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.
The service, which was attended by so many people that a substantial number had to stand on the steps of the cathedral, served as a precursor to several marches on Friday to put pressure on President Jacob Zuma to resign.
“It's clear there are dark clouds gathering on the horizon and in times like these we turn to figures like Kathrada to understand what these clouds mean,” said Gordhan.
“The concern is not that we will lose democracy, but what will it take to defend it. Be engaged not by sitting on the couch and watching news, but by caring about what is happening to our country.”
Loudspeakers were placed outside where a large spillover crowd, which was accommodated on the steps and along Wale Street, could listen to proceedings. Zuma appeared to be the target of a string of speakers who followed Gordhan.
Equal Education’s Tshepo Motsepe bemoaned the president and his family's close ties with the Gupta family.
“We believe you Mcebisi (Jonas) when you say those b***ers at Saxonwold offered you a job,” Motsepe said. “On the nuclear deal, we say we refuse to be lifelong customers of (Zuma’s nephew) Khulubuse Zuma.”
Activist Vuyiseka Dubula also did not hold back: “I start with a song to remind you this is not Zuma's country. It's our country! We are here to ensure that we get decent jobs because we pay tax. Down with the nuclear deal.”