South African opposition protests Zuma, who celebrates 75th

The president's recent dismissal of finance minister Pravin Gordhan stoked public anger over government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth. More than two decades after the end of apartheid, the vast majority of South African land remains in the hands of the minority white population.

Eight months later, Mr. Zuma, as presidential candidate of the ANC led the party to an easy victory.

Save SA's Themba Masango says Wednesday's march is not about differences in political ideology.

Malema was speaking on Monday at a joint multi-party briefing in Pretoria on the "National Day of Action" expected to take place on Wednesday, the same day that Zuma celebrates his 75th birthday.

"I'm here to support my leadership and fight for my freedom -Zuma must fall", said Precious Nqumalo, a 39-year-old mother of two who said she came to the march straight after ending her night shift as a cleaner on the Gautrain rail service to the global airport outside Johannesburg.

Few analysts see South Africa taking such a disastrous route, in part because most doubt that Zuma has the will or the political capital to follow through on his inflammatory rhetoric.

"Last week's protests were organised by the civil society and religous groups". You came out in your numbers, you have sent a strong message.

Gordhan's sacking triggered unprecedented criticism from senior figures in the ruling African National Congress (ANC), including from Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The anti-Zuma movement's organisers also want to keep the pressure on the ruling party's MPs ahead of a debate in parliament on whether a vote of no confidence in the president should be held.

But Sky's Special Correspondent, Alex Crawford, who was with the protesters, said, despite the mounting opposition, it is not certain that Zuma will be forced out of office.

Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane, head of the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has strong support among white people, had called for a march in Johannesburg, and held a rally of more than 10,000 people. Opponents described the remark as an affront to legitimate protest and said the president was trying to deflect attention from the groundswell of discontent.

In another development, parliament said a motion of no-confidence in Zuma called by the opposition had been postponed until a court decided whether the vote should be taken by secret ballot. The legal challenge has raised the possibility of a delay in the vote, according to South African media.

  • Jon Douglas