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Opposition parties to brief media on National Day of Action ahead of Parliamentary showdown

Apr 10, 2017
Opposition parties to brief media on National Day of Action ahead of Parliamentary showdown

The leaders of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the African Independent Congress (AIC), the African People's Convention (APC), Agang SA, the Congress of the People (COPE), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) will hold a media briefing on the planned National Day of Action on Wednesday.

Last week Monday, the parties met in Johannesburg, and while they could not give a date, agreed to mobilise their supporters for a day of National Action in response to the economic and political drama that the country finds itself in following the axing of former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, his Deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, and other Ministers..

That meeting was attended by the DA's Mmusi Maimane; the EFF's Godrich Gardee and Dali Mpofu; the UDM's Bantu Holomisa; COPE's Mosiuoa Lekota; the IFP's Mangaqa Mncwango and the ACDP's Kenneth Meshoe.

In a joint statement, the parties said President Jacob Zuma had instituted a "hostile takeover of the Treasury" and has sold the country "to a grouping whose only interests are amassing wealth and weakening the State through the theft of the people’s money and the undermining of the country’s Constitution".

"These are indeed irregular and trying times for South Africa and the people, which demands a united vision and programme of action from leaders of society, like Opposition Parties represented in the National Assembly," read the statement.

"Opposition Parties agreed that the Constitution must come first, and the country must be protected from those who seek to undermine it.  We therefore deliberated and agreed upon a number of issues in this regard."

Opposition Programme of Action

This Programme of Action stems from already existing partnerships and other ad hoc co-operation arrangements which exist in the country’s metros and other municipalities, where the Opposition governs for all residents, regardless of their political affiliation.

"The opposition-led metros serve as important platforms to show what the Opposition can do for the people of South Africa, which present a tangible example of the work that we can do, when we united against corruption, state capture and other ills in society.

"Furthermore, we agreed that there is a need for a Summit that brings together Political Parties and Civil Society to discuss the state of South Africa," the parties said.

"Going forward, we will at times act collectively and at times as separate political parties, depending on the nature of the issue facing the coutry. Our Programme of Action will be to put the people first, with the vision to build a better South Africa."

National Day of Action to the Union Buildings

"It was agreed that as Opposition Parties, we will start the process of mobilising their structures from across the country for a National Day of Action to the Union Buildings. We are planning to have this mass action event as soon as possible.

"We will also be engaging Civil Society formations and other Political Parties to mobilise in order to support the people’s National Day of Action to the Union Buildings, so that we are united and not fractured in our call to save our country in the short-term," the parties said.

"We therefore call upon all South Africans and the whole of Civil Society to support this mass action, where will speak with one voice calling for Jacob Zuma to remove himself from the Union Buildings, failing which he will be pushed, using democratic processes. Zuma cannot hold an entire country hostage."

 Motion of No Confidence

The opposition parties are also gearing up for a debate on a Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma, which is now scheduled for the 18th of April at the National Assembly.

"The Motion of No Confidence is not about the removal the ANC," the parties said in joint statement.

"The ANC was voted into government by the majority, through the democratic project, which we respect. In the short-term, we are working to remove Jacob Zuma, and elect someone from the ranks of the National Assembly who is committed to South Africa, the people and the Constitution."

However, the ANC is expected to stand behind Zuma when the Motion is debated after ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, backtracked from his public criticism of Zuma's recent cabinet reshuffle and said that no ANC Member of Parliament will vote in support of the motion.

On Friday, many residents took to the streets demanding that President Zuma resigns. Two major protests happened in Port Elizabeth and East London - with smaller ones taking place in towns like Qeenstown, under the banner of the Save South Africa movement.

Highlights from Port Elizabeth Save South Africa marches:

Highlights from East London Save South Africa marches: