Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula. 
Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA Pictures
Pretoria – Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned the thousands of marchers descending on Pretoria on Wednesday for the National Day of Action – a call for President Jacob Zuma to step down – to exercise their right within the ambit of the law.

Mbalula said there would be more police visibility to maintain law and order at the march, which coincides with Zuma’s 75th birthday.

Marchers will start converging at Church Square at 9am and later proceed to the Union Buildings, where political representatives will deliver messages of support.

“SAPS members, together with other government departments, law enforcement agencies and stakeholders will once again be deployed to maintain law and order and to keep South Africa safe,” Mbalula said. He made a clarion call to protesters “to exercise their rights in accordance with the law, without resorting to violence, criminality or damage to property”.

“We call on protest organisers to ensure the protest actions are peaceful and do not infringe on the rights of others; intimidation of South Africans who choose not to join the protest will not be tolerated,” he said.

Mbalula said protesters must remember that many people died for the rights we exercise on Wednesday. “Many fought for a free, democratic South Africa where the rule of law reigns supreme.

“These rights must never be exercised without observing the responsibilities that accompany them,” he said.

He lauded the protesters at the Save South Africa march for staging a peaceful protest last week.

The National Day of Action has been organised by different political parties to intensify calls for Zuma to step down. The parties are the DA, Cope, IFP, EFF, ACDP, APC and the UDM.

Save South Africa last week had to obtain a court interdict after they were denied permission to march by the city’s metro police.

However, permission has been granted for Wednesday’s march.

Mbalula said: “We have been informed that authorisation was granted to opposition parties, the conveners.”

Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said the march was approved to take place in the CBD.

Mahamba said: “The marchers are expected to be coming from all provinces using buses, trains and personal vehicles to the Pretoria CBD and gather at Church Square.”

Road users can expect traffic congestion from various routes in the city until 4pm when the march is expected to end.

Protesters travelling from Mpumalanga will use the N4 highway into Pretorius Street going to Church Square.

Those from Johannesburg and Olievenhoutbosch will use the N1 and Kgosi Mampuru turning right into WF Nkomo to get to Church Square.

Traffic on the Mabopane highway to Es’kia Mphahlele Drive can be expected to be congested because people from north of Pretoria, will use those routes.

Motorists using WF Nkomo have also be warned about marchers from the west of Pretoria, who will use the route to Church Square.

Others from east of Pretoria will use the N4 into Pretorius Street turning into Paul Kruger Street.

More protesters commuting by train will be dropped off at Bosman Station and walk through Bosman Street and Paul Kruger. Other train stations affected will be Belle Ombre moving into Paul Kruger Street to get to Church Square.

Meanwhile, the SACP will embark on a march in the city next week on Friday to the National Treasury offices.

“We decided on the picket and not a protest march to avoid National Treasury’s deliberate sabotage of our protest march as happened last Friday. In a picket, we do not require National Treasury’s abuse of power to decline receipt of our memorandum of demands,” provincial spokesperson Jacob Mamabolo said.

“We will highlight through our picket the demand to set up a proper, sound and financially sustainable Post Bank as the only and most suitable distributor of social grants. We prefer that as an alternative to any private equity partner, worse the Gupta dynasty. The Co-operative Banks Development Agency, created in 2009, can serve as the real progressive social partner.

“We will also highlight the demand for defence of our national sovereignty and sound financial institutions. We will also highlight corruption, waste and looting of state institutions as the real cause of the junk status rating of our economy.”

Mamabolo said the SACP would also use the provincial picket to highlight the need to implement the directive of the court that a judge be appointed to preside over the investigation of the stature capture report by the public protector.

Affected streets
Madiba, Lillian Ngoyi, Sisulu, Du toit, Nelson Mandela Drive, Edmond, Hamilton and Thabo Sehume.

Madiba, Edmond and Hamilton streets will be closed completely for the buses of the marchers to park.

Metro Police officers will be deployed to monitor the march and all affected streets.

Motorists are advised to avoid the affected streets and use alternative routes.

Pretoria News