Thousands of South Africans march against President

  • 28/09/2017
Jacob Zuma has been president of South Africa since 2009.
Jacob Zuma has been president of South Africa since 2009. Photo credit: Getty

Thousands of South Africans have begun marching against corruption under President Jacob Zuma's rule, in protests led by unions which have backed a rival to Mr Zuma's faction as the next leader of the ANC.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which is in an alliance with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), called on its more than one million members to strike and join marches in major cities across South Africa.

Though the demonstrations are officially against graft broadly, much of the frustration and anger is aimed at Mr Zuma.

Throngs of protesters marched to parliament in Cape Town singing songs and waving placards emblazoned with "Zuma must go" and "corruption is a crime against humanity".

"Things are just going down under President Zuma," textile worker Florence Titus told Reuters.

"He needs to play a president's role not just be there to fill his pockets and his family's pockets. He must step down."

Senior members of the ANC have also called for Mr Zuma to quit in recent months following a swell of allegations that his friends, the Gupta family, wield undue influence over the award of state contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The raiding of taxpayers funds by outside interests is known locally as "state capture". The Guptas and Mr Zuma deny wrongdoing and say they are victims of a politically-motivated witch-hunt.

Mr Zuma survived an attempt in parliament to force him from office in August, but was left politically wounded after some ANC members backed the opposition's no-confidence motion.

He can remain head of state until a parliamentary election in 2019, although the next ANC leader could edge him out next year.