Cape Town to start anti-Zuma protests with human chain

2017-04-05 21:13

President Jacob Zuma (File, AP)

President Jacob Zuma (File, AP)

Cape Town – Capetonians are planning to form a human chain from Parliament to St George’s Cathedral on Thursday in protest against President Jacob Zuma.

When the noon gun goes off in Cape Town on Thursday, a “holding hands” picket was expected to begin outside the gates of Parliament and snake down Plein and Spin streets, and up Adderley and Wale streets to the cathedral.

At 14:00 former finance minister Pravin Gordhan would join speakers at a memorial service for ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, who died last week Tuesday.

Later on Thursday, a tent camp dubbed “Vukani Mzansi 2” would rise from the pavement between the Slave Lodge Museum and the cathedral, as a central point for the pickets and cultural programme expected to last until Saturday morning.

Western Cape ANC spokesperson Yonela Diko said ANC members would respect the right to participate in civil action, and would not stage counter-marches to defend Zuma.

“Our differences are ideological, not physical,” Diko said.

In Johannesburg, the ANC Youth League threatened to break up any anti-Zuma marches. The route of a planned DA march was changed to avoid ANC headquarters Luthuli House amid safety fears.

Diko said the party believed people with grievances about the ANC should approach them directly.

Pickets on Friday would include the roar of a motorcycle convoy towards the city and, from 10:00, more human chains were expected from:

– The main road from Simons Town into the Cape Town CBD;

– Voortrekker Road from Bellville into the CBD;

– From Atlantis down Marine Drive into the CBD;

– Jakes Gerwel Drive, down Klipfontein road, into Mowbray Main Road from Mitchell’s Plain.

Later, people could join a “concerned civil society” march from noon down Keizersgracht to the gates of Parliament.

Follow-up pickets would be held every Thursday between noon and 13:00 outside Parliament, leading to other pickets on Freedom Day, April 27.

According to the Cape Chamber of Commerce, almost 62% of employers surveyed supported closing down on Friday in protest over Gordhan’s sacking. Those who would not, sent apologies and an explanation that they did not want to let their customers down, chamber president Janine Myburgh said.

Old Mutual was among the large companies allowing staff to join the marches and civil action, as long as they applied for day’s leave.

The #SA1st Forum is supporting the marches, pickets, and human chains. It is collaborating with civil society groups such as SaveSA, Ndifuna Ukwazi, Right2Know and faith organisations to protest against Zuma’s Cabinet purge last week and its effect on the economy.