Pickets for and against Zuma

PIETERMARITZBURG locals will join thousands more across the country on Friday [today] in what is being expressed as a “nationwide shutdown” calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign.

Local organisations and opposition parties will rally together with residents in a show of solidarity with larger gatherings scheduled in Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town on Friday [today].

There will be a gathering and signing of petitions at the CBD Publicity House and the Bombay Civic Centre at 10 am and 1 pm respectively.

From 11 am, a group of about 500 Nottingham Road, Mooi River and Rosetta residents are expected to gather at the Clifton Preparatory School to create an “inspirational” video expressing the need for leaders with integrity and economic growth in South Africa.

Democratic Alliance leadership in the city have also called on residents to join them in a picket scheduled to take place at 3.30 pm at the traffic circle on Chatterton Road.

However, not everybody is on board in supporting the anti-Zuma sentiment.

The ANC Youth League yesterday said they will hold a “traffic mob and picket” early today and later this afternoon during peak traffic hours in Pietermaritzburg.

The provincial branch of the ANCYL said their gathering is in support of Zuma’s recent Cabinet shuffle, land expropriation, efforts to confront white monopoly capital and free education.

Their picket will take place near the University of South Africa (Unisa) from 6 am.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions yesterday reiterated its position that it does not support the so-called “people’s march” planned for today.

“We issue a clear and unambiguous message to our members to not join this march and not participate in any activities organised by Save SA. We are not confused about who our enemies are and in everything we do, we will be guided by our class interests,” the union said in a statement.

“We will never march with the agents on monopoly capital to remove a democratically elected government”.

In a statement from the Active Citizens Movement (ACM) yesterday, the organisation expressed its frustration with the Msunduzi Municipality after their application to stage a legal protest today was rejected.

ACM chairperson Roshan Jainath said the municipality had rejected their application at “the eleventh hour”, citing that they had failed to apply seven days prior to the march.

“We reject this as an act of intimidation because precedents exist that show permission is granted within seven days.

“Perhaps the most insulting reason offered to decline our application was that a clean-up was scheduled,” Jainath said.

He said he feels their constitutional rights have been violated.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said all stations in his cluster are ready for any “eventualities” today [Friday].

“Contingency plans are in place if any demonstrations turn violent. We will do normal policing as per the prescripts of the law,” Ngobese said.