The protests, organized by over 75 civil organizations, followed a Constitutional Court judgment on March 31 which found that Zuma failed to defend, respect and uphold the Constitution by ignoring Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations regarding payment for security upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The protests took place in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other cities across the country.
In Johannesburg, hundreds of protesters, which include academics, politicians, environmentalists, students, trade unionists and social activists, sang liberation songs and waved placards calling on Zuma to resign.
“Down with Zuma” and “Zuma must fall”, they chanted.
“It is the duty of the President to defend the Constitution. Zuma had disregarded that and that is a sign that he is no longer fit to be president and we demand that he must resign immediately. We are calling on his party, the African National Congress (ANC) to recall him,” said Reverend Moss Ntlha, general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa,
As the country will hold local government elections on August 3, the ANC will “be punished by the voters with Zuma as the president”, Ntlha said, adding that they will continue to call for the President to step down until the government listens.
He said: “If the government cannot listen to opposition political parties we think that they can listen to the civil society.”
Nelson Qekema from the opposition Azapo party called on South Africans to defend the Constitution by forcing Zuma to resign.
“We must defend the fruits of our liberation and democracy. We must stand up and show Zuma the door,” he said.
Ferrial Adam, an environment activist from Unite Against Corruption, said they will continue to mobilise the South Africans to protest until Zuma heeds their call.
ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told Xinhua that the party will not recall the president and still has faith in his leadership.
“We are not going to recall the president and we have no reason to do that. We are 100 percent behind the president and still have faith in his leadership,” said the spokesperson.
Kodwa also stated that those who were demonstrating were exercising their democratic right.
The protests took place as the country marked the Freedom Day, which is dedicated to the first all-race elections that ended the apartheid government in 1994. Enditem.