South Africa braces for Black Monday protests calling for Zuma ousting

Stuart Graham
Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma's firing of his finance minister on Friday - REUTERS

South Africans are expected to take to the streets in their thousands this week in a series of demonstrations against President Jacob Zuma.

Anger has built across the country since Mr Zuma, 74, fired nine cabinet members, including his highly respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan, 67.

A social media campaign dubbed "Black Monday" that went viral at the weekend called on South Africans to wear black clothing on Monday as a demonstration against Mr Zuma.

The largest protests is due to held in Johannesburg this Friday with the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, calling on other political parties, unions and civil society movements to march to the ANC's city centre headquarters, Luthuli House.

South Africa's president Jacob Zuma Credit: Reuters

At a memorial service for anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada, who was imprisoned with South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela, Mr Gordhan urged citizens "to act" against the capture of the government by corrupt forces.

Mr Gordhan was cheered by ANC members who chanted "Zuma must fall" after his speech. Opposition parties are pushing for a motion of no confidence to be passed against Mr Zuma in the African National Congress-dominated parliament.

They need 201 out of the 400 MPs to vote with them but it is uncertain if they will win the numbers. Mr Zuma's authority has been steadily undermined as his administration has staggered through a series of blunders, including the use of state funds to make lavish improvements to his rural homestead and a debacle that threatened the payment of social grants to millions who depend on them.

But despite the repeated scandals, Mr Zuma remains popular in rural South Africa, in particular his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr Zuma, who won the last ANC internal election by a landslide, said he would step down as party leader when it holds its next elective conference in December.

His ex wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is one of the favourites to take over from him.

Profile | Jacob Zuma

 

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