High spirits in Pretoria as protesters prepare for anti-Zuma march

Before the sun had risen on Wednesday‚ EFF supporters had already gathered at Church Square in Pretoria ahead of the national Day of Action march‚ calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign.

‘Multi-party’ protestor Johan van der Merwe poses for a selfie with an EFF member Picture: KYLE COWAN

Music reverberated around the square‚ as a small group danced while bearing placards saying “Zuma Must Fall” and “Vote EFF”.

In other areas of the square‚ fires are being lit and food stalls are already doing a roaring trade.

The Day of Action is supported by several opposition parties and civic organisations. Protesters plan to march to the Union Buildings to make their voices heard.

The anti-Zuma march comes amid growing pressure on the president to step down. Opposition parties have also vowed to band together to bring a vote of no confidence to parliament.

Wednesday is also Zuma’s birthday‚ which the ANC is celebrating with a huge party in Kliptown‚ Soweto.

A track that describes EFF leader Julius Malema as cracking the whip was played‚ while others spoke of Chris Hani and Steve Biko and the Fees Must Fall movement.

Tisetso Maluka‚ a food vendor from Atteridgeville‚ said she had arrived at 4am to set up.

Maluka said she would join the march later‚ but for now she is concentrating on cooking food.

“President Zuma must go‚” she said. “Actually it’s long overdue.”

On the opposite side of the square‚ a strong police presence has already gathered.

As rain began to fall just before 8am‚ some ran for shelter‚ while others were undeterred.

Johan van der Merwe arrived wearing a unique outfit that featured the emblems of various South African political parties.

“The idea came up during other marches‚” he said.

“There were political parties who were arguing‚ saying the other shouldn’t be there and things like that. So I had the idea of a multi-party protest‚” he said.

Johan was a big hit with EFF members — and was asked to pose for photos with a number of them.


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