OPINION

We reject this rotten, captured and corrupt President - Sipho Pityana

Today marks beginning of a new struggle, a long struggle, the long walk of our generation to a new freedom

ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE’S RALLY

FRIDAY 7 APRIL 2017

Sipho M Pityana

Amandla!

Amandla!

A people united shall never be defeated!

Please repeat after me:

A people

united

shall never be defeated!

Compatriots, and friends

We have arrived!

Thanks to our Constitution, today we are exercising our right to peaceful protest to march through the streets of the capital to reject our rotten, corrupt and captured President. Importantly, in defence of our motherland

Yes, we have arrived!

Our detractors, the surrogates of the Gupta project, fear people's power. At political rallies they demonise our right to peaceful protest, in desperation make inciting and reckless statements that are completely at odds with the values of both the liberation movement and our constitutional order

They mobilised thugs to violently invade our modern-day heroes, the people who have camped at #VukaniMzansi1

On national television they tried to paint our protest as illegal and promised a return to apartheid-era kragdadigheid.

Some in our own government make statements saying that it is wrong to take to the streets and make our voices heard, despite the fact that they are supposed to protect and defend our Constitutional rights.

Thanks to the independence of our courts, we have been able to gather as civil society, as ordinary people, trade unionists, faith leaders, community activists and more and say, with one diverse yet united voice: Zuma must go!

It is because they are threatened by our unity as a rainbow nation that they try and divide us by race, class, ethnicity, religion and other nefarious basis. The diversity we see here today is exactly what the fathers of our rainbow nation Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Motsoaledi, Beyers Naude and others, dreamt of; and indeed what the mothers who gave birth to our free nation Charlotte Maxeke, Ruth First, Albertina Sisulu and others believed would make us a bulwark against any adversity. That adversity is upon us and it is called state capture; united in our diversity we determined to defeat it.

The People United Will Never Be Defeated!!!

Some say our march is an act of treason.

Aren't they the ones who are committing treason?

Aren't they the ones who are committing the crime of betraying their country, enabling unfettered looting of our resources, stealing from the poor, working tirelessly for the Guptas to take over our country through their puppets?

Aren't they the ones who defy the Constitutional Court, who defy Parliament, and who defy court orders and who defy the will of the people?

If there is anyone who should be charged with treason, comrades and friends, it is Jacob Zuma and his cronies. They have stolen our money, they have stolen our government … and now they are trying to steal our country. We will not allow them. They will not get away with it. Our people's power will stop them in their tracks

The People United Will Never Be Defeated!!!

Today marks the beginning of a new struggle, a long struggle, the long walk of our generation to a new freedom. Let no one underestimate what we are about.

We must know that when he is not getting briefed in Saxonwold, living it up in Dubai or selling us out in Russia, our President occasionally visits the office on this hill behind us.

That man, comrades and friends, may be in office. But he is not in power. He is a puppet, a stooge, a front for the Guptas and a clique of corrupt and greedy cronies.

The office behind us is the office of a discredited, dishonest leader who is prepared to sell his soul, and the soul of his party and his country, in exchange for money and favours for himself, his family and friends.

Jacob Zuma has disgraced that office, and the Union Buildings. He has turned it into a den of iniquity. It is a mere toy telephone for the real seat of power – the Saxonwold shebeen, where our President sits and gets instructions from this corrupt clique on who to appoint as a minister, director general, board of state owned entities and leaders of various government institutions. He is captured, through him out state is captured.

Let our struggle for freedom begin!

Zuma must go! We demand to be led with honour and integrity

We are no longer prepared to be led by a President who spends more time trying to work out how to sidestep the law than he does to ensure it is enforced.

Even when he’s caught out – like he has been, twice, by the Public Protector – he twists and turns and ducks and dives to avoid responsibility and accountability.

So instead of clearing the air about his role in state capture, he is doing everything he can to ensure that a recommendation by Thuli Madonsela to expose this through a Judicial Commission of Inquiry never happens.

This man is a national embarrassment … an international embarrassment, in fact, to the proud freedom fighting memory of John Dube, Oliver Tambo, Helen Joseph, Robert Sobukwe, Steven Bantu Biko, Fatima Meer, Charlotte Maxeke, Joe Slovo – and, of course, our dearly beloved and recently departed comrade and friend, Ahmed Kathrada.

Viva Ahmed Kathrada! Viva!

Of course, it was Comrade Kathy who called Zuma out almost exactly a year ago today and told him he should step down, in the interests of the people. It was Comrade Kathy who took the lead, which has been embraced by a number of ANC Stalwarts since then, to say that Zuma must go.

Uncle Kathy’s words are worth repeating here today, as we stand here at the Union Buildings and I especially invite those in the leadership of the ANC and Zuma in particular to listen attentively. and I quote:

"The position of president is one that must at all times unite this country behind a vision and programme that seeks to make tomorrow a better day than today for all South Africans.

I am not a political analyst‚ but I am driven to ask: “Dear Comrade President‚ don’t you think your continued stay as president will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?”

And bluntly‚ if not arrogantly‚ in the face of such persistently widespread criticism‚ condemnation and demand‚ is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum‚ to consider stepping down? ...

...I know that if I were in the president’s shoes‚ I would step down with immediate effect.

I believe that is what would help the country to find its way out of a path that it never imagined it would be on‚ but one that it must move out of soon.

...Today I appeal to our president to submit to the will of the people and resign."

If you believe in Comrade Kathy, repeat after me: “Today, we appeal to our president to submit to the will of the people and resign!”

Today we the people appeal

To our president

To submit to the will of the people

And resign!

Today we the People appeal to the ANC to recall Zuma!

Today we the People call on all Parliamentarians to hear our cry!

We call on our Representatives to support a motion of no confidence regardless of the party that tables it!

Comrades and friends

Today is a very, very important day for our democracy. It is a crucial day in our push back against state capture, corruption and the corrosion of our democracy.

It is a crucial day in showing those who hold the levers of the power that we, the people, will not sit back and watch them eat.

We will not let the Guptas appoint any more Cabinet Ministers. We are determined to reverse their coup de tat of 31 March

We will not let them sneak discredited former Eskom CEOs, or SABC CEOs for that matter, into Parliament through the backdoor.

We will not let them feast on our money and use our state-owned companies as piggybanks.

We will not let them play umlabalaba with the national economy and bring on further downgrades.

We will not let them siphon money from social grants intended for the poor, the aged, and those single parents struggling to bring up children.

We will not let them open bank accounts for the Guptas and send plane-loads of money to Dubai.

We will not let them mortgage our country so that Zuma and his cronies can get a multi-billion rand pension plan from the Russians, and leave us indebted for generations.

We will not let them use the intelligence agencies to spy on the good people and protect the bad.

We will not let them steal away our freedom. We will not.

And, most importantly, we will not let Zuma stay a minute longer in office. He has more than over-stayed his welcome. He is a rent-seeker, a comprador, a squatter in a suit. And he must go.

Zuma must go!

Fellow South Africans

Here we are today: Christians, communists, muslims, activists, Jews, workers, the unemployed, activists, business people, students, professionals. United in our struggle, and united in our call

We commit to cement this civil society partnership into a formal coordinating structure for civil society organisations who share our values, so that we remain focused and strong. The road ahead is going to be long

We must not let our courage or our enthusiasm wane. We must talk more about how we continue to occupy spaces, within the law, in a way that demonstrates our resolve.

We must strengthen our voice, and speak with unity on the issues that concern us.

To the ANC we must ask, you have the power to remove Zuma, You know he is harming our nation, You know he has sold all of us out. Why is he still at the Union Buildings? Between today and 18 April show respect for the cries of many of your members, your alliance partners and your many supporters. Recall Zuma! Even your own Integrity Committee has found his integrity wanting! What are you waiting for?

Are you going to sacrifice the People, the nation, your supporters, even your member, all in defence of a man that everybody knows is corrupt? This is the time when you have to choose between evil and good. Those who handed the mettle over to you were always on the side of good. Honour them and show Zuma the door.

Comrades and friends

We are very happy with how today has turned out, and in particular to see how many people, across the length and breadth of our country, have embraced our call. We appreciate the work of the law enforcement agencies in ensuring we have the right to exercise our rights. We deeply appreciate the spirit of camaraderie that has developed among those involved in organizing today.

And we must thank you, every single one of you, for turning up today.

But we cannot stop here. Zuma will not throw in the towel tonight, so if you’re planning to stay up late for another midnight announcement about the ultimate reshuffle, forget about it.

He is not going to leave the feeding frenzy easily.

Even though some of his ANC NEC comrades, the stalwarts have asked him to step down, Zuma is not going to go easily. Even though the faith groupss, business leaders, trade unions, civics and civil society formations such as our own, he’s going to sit tight.

So we have to carry on. We have to keep up the pressure. We have to make this useless, corrupt president realise that it’s time to get out of here. He can go to Dubai, he can go to live in a dacha on the shores of the Black Sea, or he can find a room at the Gupta shebeen – we don't care.

Anywhere but here, at the Union Buildings.

But he won’t go easily. And so, Parliament must become our next site of struggle, and 18 April our next day of action.

For that is the day when Parliament, for the umpteenth time, will be discussing a vote of no confidence in Zuma.

This means the real pressure point now is on those who have power in the National Assembly, and we urge you to do whatever you can to make them do the right thing.

In the same way, we call on them to do the right thing, and vote for their country rather than their party during the vote of no confidence.

Phone, email or Whatsapp your MP. March to your local constituency office. Petition Parliament, or sign our own People’s Motion of No Confidence in this man, which already has more than 35 000 signatures to back it up.

Do whatever you can to ensure that when MPs vote on 18 April, they express what millions of South Africans are feeling: that they have absolutely no confidence in President Zuma.

And he must go.

We are hard at work in Cape Town for 18 April. Just last night we erected a new camp, called #VukaniMzansi2, as part of our build-up to a massive protest outside Parliament.

We will continue to mobilise, and we must all join them in Cape Town to ensure that the pressure that we are putting on the Union Buildings today is repeated, ten times bigger if we can, outside Parliament during the vote of no confidence.

To us, it is increasingly clear that coordinated, united public protest is the only way to stop further state capture and to defend our democracy, and the only way to get rid of Zuma.

Although today has been an amazing day, we cannot rest. We must keep moving forward, compatriots and friends. We must keep putting people’s pressure on Zuma. We must keep occupying the streets and using our hard-won freedoms to protest. And we must repeat, again and again, our call.

And what’s our call? Zuma must go! Zuma must go! Save South Africa! Zuma must go!

Issued by Save South Africa, 7 April 2017