This week government‚ through Government Communications and Information Services Acting Director-General Donald Liphoko‚ said it did not support acts of civil disobedience and the actions of a select few to infringe on the constitutional rights of the majority.
He said when citizens took to the streets illegally‚ this was often accompanied by violence‚ destruction of property and lawlessness‚ promising full might of the law to those found guilty.
But the coalition‚ briefing the media ahead of the march in Pretoria‚ said the ANC itself employed civil disobedience to topple the apartheid regime but was now against the same tactic by civil society.
Johannesburg Against Injustices‚ which is part of the campaign‚ said peaceful civil disobedience to exert pressure on government was a constitutional right of civil society.
The organisation’s Peggy Pillay said mass organisation taking to the street through peaceful march has been utilised for centuries.
“It has been used by citizens to exert pressure on governments… it was the modus operandi of the ANC as a mass democratic movement so it is disingenuous for the ANC government to be against civil obedience at this point in time‚” she said.
Pillay said on Friday citizens were going to use whatever means they have at their disposal to have their voices heard.
“It is peaceful civil disobedience. It is our right and we will take to the streets‚” she said.
Section 27 director Mark Heywood said the march was legal and had the support of religious leaders‚ people from various political persuasions and from across the spectrum united in their call for Zuma to step down.
“This is a people’s march to show the people’s anger and people’s determination that President Jacob Zuma is not fit to be president of this country‚ that he is a man who is corrupt and has been corrupted‚” he said.
Heywood said Zuma was answerable to the criminal underworld and not to the Constitution and people of South Africa.
He called on companies not to penalise workers who wished to attend the march and encouraged civil servants to take Friday off to be part of the march.
Save SA has been camping on the Church Square in front of the Treasury offices since Monday and has vowed to stay put until Zuma leaves.
On Friday the coalition will march to the Union Buildings to call for Zuma to step down. Heywood said the SA Communist Party would have its own march but would join them at the union buildings.
Calls for Zuma to step down have swelled after he fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas‚ which led to ratings agency S&P downgrading the country’s investment rating to junk.
The coalition said it expected thousands of South Africans to join the march.
– TMG Digital/The Times