Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

South African protests call on President Zuma to stand down over corruption scandals

Zuma is facing growing anger over corruption and a poor economy. Credit: AP

Thousands of people have joined rallies in South Africa demanding the resignation of President Zuma after his sacking of a popular minister stoked simmering anger over government corruption and a struggling economy.

Some protesters carried signs reading 'Fire Zuma' while others said they felt the ruling class were more concerned about enriching themselves than dealing with high unemployment, a slowing economy and stubborn racial inequality.

President Zuma has been tainted by repeated corruption scandals since he took power in 2009. He is also facing internal criticism in his ANC party after it slipped to its lowest ever vote share of 55% in last year's local elections.

His removal last week of popular finance minister Pravin Gordhan, seen by many as an anti-corruption figure, has unleashed a fresh bout of criticism.

Some of those on the streets said they are now backing the opposition Democratic Alliance party led by Mmusi Maimane.

Among those seen at the protests was Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, aged 85, who was pictured with his wife near their retirement home in the Cape Town area.

The protests passed mostly peacefully, though police fired rubber bullets to disperse a group of around 100 ruling party members who were approaching protesters.

Credit: AP

The ANC party led the decades-long struggle against apartheid, and carried Nelson Mandela to power in the 1994 elections that ended white-minority rule.

But in recent years it has lost voter support and is now embroiled in internal struggles over the way forward.

Zuma radically overhauled his cabinet last week to clear out many of his critics as he saw off an internal party rebellion.

That decision resulted in South Africa's credit rating being downgraded to junk status to Standard & Poor's.

Credit: AP

Parliament will vote on a motion of no confidence in the president on April 18, though he has easily survived previous similar votes against him.

Zuma, aged 74, is due to step down as head of the ANC in December, and as president ahead of the 2019 general election.

He is widely expected to try to install his ex-wife and former African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as his political successor.