Zuma using racism to run from reality - DA KZN

Durban - President Jacob Zuma is running away from reality by claiming the marches against him were motivated by racism, the Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal said on Tuesday.

"How can he say that the march was racist when coloureds, Indians, Africans, and whites united and marched against him? The march was not about hating Zuma but it was about saving South Africa," provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said.

Zuma was using populist politics to divide the country according to race which would benefit him and the African National Congress.

Speaking at the wreath-laying ceremony for assassinated SAPC leader Chris Hani on Monday, Zuma alleged that placards some of the marchers carried at the marches on Friday depicted blacks as baboons.

Mncwango told News24 that while some placards might have been provocative, there was nothing racist about the marches.

He questioned why Zuma was talking about radical economic transformation, land, and white-owned monopoly capital only toward the end of his two-year term.

Serious economic crisis

Mncwango rejected Police Minister Fikile Mbalula's claims that the anti-Zuma marches were organised by "fat cats" and white monopoly capitalists to protect their interests. Mbalula was speaking at the ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal cadres' forum on Friday night.

The country was facing a serious economic crisis which affected all South Africans, Mncwango said.

"If banks increase interest rates because of the junk status the country is in, those who live on loans - mostly blacks - will suffer. If businesses run at a loss and decide to retrench workers, blacks will also suffer," he said.

The ANC kept calling for radical economic transformation because it would only benefit those with links to the party. Instead, the imbalances of the past needed to be addressed to economically empower the all citizens of the country, he said.

On March 30, Zuma controversially reshuffled his Cabinet. Those he axed included finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

Ratings agencies Standard & Poor's and Fitch downgraded South Africa's credit ratings and thousands of people took part in nationwide protests to demand that Zuma step down.