If President Jacob Zuma does not heed the calls of opposition parties and members of the public, the African National Congress (ANC) faces the risk of history repeating itself as with the 2016 local elections, where the ruling party lost support with many voters in the country.
This is according to a political analyst at the University of the Free State, Dr. Sethulego Matebesi, who says that while President Zuma may not step down, the country’s discourse will once again change.
“As it stands, the ANC is at risk of one of two things happening right now – the party’s previous supporters can decide not to vote for it and to take a chance with another party or the voters can decide altogether not to vote, as we saw they did last year,” Mathebesi says.
He also adds that while opposition parties often use marches like this one to gain advantage and use for other political agendas, he does not believe this is the case with opposition parties in the province and country at large.
“I have always said that when opposition parties oppose for the sake of opposing, then we have a serious problem, however, I do believe that while opposition parties may have some agendas in pushing for the removal of Zuma, they also have sufficient grounds for wanting him to step down as he has brought the country into disrepute with the various allegations that have been made against him,” he says.
Some of the grounds Matebesi mentions include the Nkandla debacle, the woman who accused Zuma of rape, Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, and more recently, the State Capture and Zuma’s questionable relationship with the Gupta family.
While Matebesi says it is unlikely for Zuma to resign, he does believe that civil society is becoming more unified in the calls for him to step down, which is good for democracy. “Every other week, we have seen civil society come together in various forms to rally for the stepping down of the president. While I don’t see this happening, I do believe that these activities have an underlying purpose, which is also to advocate the typical voter that much in our country is going wrong and needs to be fixed,” he says.
The No Confidence March against President Jacob Zuma will be held in Bloemfontein and other parts of the province and country today..
Opposition parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Democratic Alliance, and others are in the forefront of the march, with over twenty faith based and activism organisations such as the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Save SA, among many others.
– Pulane Choane