South Africans hold nationwide protests against Zuma

"The president is a criminal and I feel that [DA leader] Mmusi Maimane is the right man to lead and take South Africa forward".

Police said the number of anti-Zuma protesters outnumbered that of pro-Zuma marchers, who are staunch supporters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Tens of thousands of South Africans have marched in cities and towns to demand the resignation of President Jacob Zuma, deepening the country's crisis on a day when its credit rating was downgraded to junk status by another major agency.

Gordhan, a person of Indian origin, has become a symbol of the fight against corruption for refusing to approve several projects that would allegedly benefit businessmen close to Zuma.

Key ANC allies, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the main trades union federation Cosatu, joined in the calls for him to go.

The move send the rand tumbling - an eventually that Zuma was apparently prepared to withstand - and triggered large demonstrations around the country calling for the president to resign.

In Johannesburg, police fired stun grenades at demonstrators near the home of the Gupta family, a powerful South African business family.

The ANC on Wednesday rejected calls for Zuma to quit, and his supporters also gathered to support him, mounting mock parades and singing in support of Zuma.

Dzwane, who joined the Johannesburg protest against Zuma with her colleagues, said: "This is not about being white or black or whatever". He is also facing internal criticism in his ANC party after it slipped to its lowest ever vote share of 55% in last year's local elections.

Despite Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's assertions that the National Treasury will leave fiscal policy unchanged, Fitch remains sceptical given Zuma's recent rhetoric on radical economic transformation. They need a second revolution aimed at discovering the kind of leadership that puts people first. In the capital, Pretoria, they marched to the Union Buildings, which houses many government offices.

ANC member Sipho Magano said the reason they were gathered outside Luthuli House was mainly because they were against the DA's mission to unseat Zuma.

Speaking to RNEWS, East London resident Nomonde Siswana, said that the call for president Zuma to step down is a good cause, and that if he continues being a President, the economy will suffer and the poor will remain poor. "It is about the renewal of the ANC and democracy", said Gerrald Ray, 56, a business strategist.

"Hold the person next to you by the hand and demonstrate unity", Maimane said. "I was in Cape Town which probably saw the biggest march in the country today - there were over one hundred thousand people on the streets in the city center".

  • Jon Douglas