Leaders of civil society, political parties, labour unions and religious organisations have joined together to launch the Freedom Movement, a new organisation aiming to remove President Jacob Zuma from office.

Members of the movement, launched at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto yesterday, will rally at Freedom Park in Pretoria on Freedom Day, April 27. The press conference that launched the movement included leaders from the UDM and DA.

UDM MP Bantu Holomisa said other political parties, including the EFF, IFP, African Christian Democratic Party and Cope, had met Freedom Movement leaders but had not yet committed to offering financial support.

Political commentator Prince Mashele said the movement had a wide range of supporters, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

“The immediate objective is to help facilitate a large-scale protest outside Parliament when the motion of no confidence happens,” he told reporters. “We shall not sit back and watch while our children’s future is destroyed by a rogue president working with parasitic private interest this is our country, we shall defend it.”

He said South Africans could not afford to pause in their protests. “When citizens get tired, rogue leaders do not get tired. When Zimbabweans got tired, Mugabe did not. We will never get tired, because if we do, Zuma will destroy this country.”

Mashele read a statement from Tutu: “In principle Aunt Leah and I are in support of a united coalition calling on all South Africans to join the event on April 27.

"It is important that we unite as South Africans to bring an end to state capture and that we further the values of our democratic society by speaking out against any and all kinds of injustice in our society. Let’s work together in the interest of a better life for all our people.”

Bantu Holomisa said he hoped a cohesive, consistent message of unity would set the rally apart.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that when the president had blatantly violated the constitution, it was unfathomable to allow that person to remain head of state.

Holomisa said the onus to remove Zuma was on the ANC, and he thought Zuma would step down if asked to do so by his party.