South Africa's ex-leader wades into Zuma no-confidence vote


Thousands from South Africa's opposition parties converged in Pretoria on Wednesday to protest against President Jacob Zuma.

Hundreds of President Jacob Zuma's loyal supports came out in their numbers to help him celebrate his 75th birthday in Kliptown, Soweto.

The protest which was organised by a coalition of opposition parties following nationwide rallies against Zuma last week, took place in the capital city of Pretoria.

Former president Thabo Mbeki urged MPs yesterday to put the country first when they voted, saying the Constitutional Court had outlined the role of MPs in its Nkandla judgment‚ which criticised parliament for not rapping Zuma over the knuckles by implementing the findings of the public protector.

Protesters in East London call for President Zuma to step down.

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UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the march was not a numbers game, it was meant to deliver a message.

Responding to the number of people that turned out for Wednesday's march, Zuma said: "It was just a normal gathering of opposition parties".

On Monday, Zuma said many white demonstrators calling for his resignation are racist.

While political control remains firmly in the hands of the ANC, the feeling among many black South Africans is that the party that led the liberation struggle and which has ruled since 1994 could eventually end up paying a high political price if Zuma's tenure is extended much further.

Unfortunately for the president, more protests are planned for Wednesday - his 75th birthday.

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The DA's #NoConfidence petition has today exceeded 500 000 signatures, making our petition, if not already the biggest online political petition in South Africa ever, then certain to be the biggest.

Save SA however said that if Zuma was truly offended, he would report the matter to the Human Rights Commission.

Ndima said the group had taken the decision to raise their concerns within recognised party structures, believing that this would be more effective.

"We only need 65-70 people from the ANC, and the secret ballot can deliver the votes to remove Zuma", Bantu Holomisa, head of the smaller United Democratic Movement (UDM), told Reuters.

The ruling African National Congress party, which has a majority in parliament, has rejected calls for Zuma to step down and said it will vote against the no-confidence motion on April 18.

Political parties stage anti-Zuma protests in Pretoria
A buoyant Zuma reiterated his call for land be returned to South African citizens. Some demonstrators carried a mock coffin covered with a South African flag.

"We can not say we are ousting a rogue president but engage in hooliganism'" he said.