Thousands of Plettenberg Bay and Knysna residents stood in solidarity with the rest of the country’s call for president Jacob Zuma to step down - YOLANDÉ STANDER reports
ZUMA must fall! Zuma must fall! That was the prevailing sentiment of chants after more than a thousand Plett locals and visitors took hands and sang the national anthem in the town’s Main Street at 12pm last Friday.
Similar gatherings took place in Knysna and Sedgefield - this after a national outcry over Zuma’s recent decision to sack, for a second time, Finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, during a cabinet reshuffle over a week ago.
The decision had taken its toll on South Africa’s economy and the country has since been downgraded to junk status by not only Standard & Poor, but also Fitch.
This led to nationwide marches and gatherings by South Africans on Friday for Zuma to step down.
Three gatherings took place in Plettenberg Bay. The one in Main Street was organised by residents and saw locals from different political parties, ages, races and religious backgrounds stand side-by-side in protest against the president.
Participants came holding posters saying ‘Hamba Zuma’, ‘Zuma is not my President’, and ‘No to state capture’.
There were no speeches, since the gathering was not a political activity but rather a community event.
Between 12 noon and 3pm, another gathering was held in The Crags on the corner of Redford Road and the N2, with the third taking place at 3pm on Central Beach. But the rain that fell that afternoon resulted in only a handful of people making their way to the beach.
“We can understand that only a few showed up, but we have shown that we care - we stood up and were counted,” resident Jean Sparg said to those huddled under umbrellas.
The small group, however, made their voices heard with an emotional rendition of the national anthem before they dispersed.
In neighbouring Knysna, about a thousand people gathered in the town’s Memorial Square.
While mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies could not attend due to illness, she said that while she could not join the national outcry to have Zuma removed, she believed in the cause.
“Stand tall, stand strong, and show the world that we are serious about this call,” Bouw-Spies said.
In Sedgefield, a large group of residents gathered along the N2 through the town carrying anti-Zuma posters.
Garden Route Media