ANCWL Wants South African Women To Support Zuma's Radical Economic Transformation

Fitch downgraded South Africa's foreign and local currency debt to speculative grade, while S&P Global Ratings on Monday cut the hard currency borrowing to "junk".

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through South African cities on Friday demanding Zuma's resignation, as a second ratings agency downgraded the country's debt to junk status.

"In Fitch's view, the Cabinet reshuffle, which involved the replacement of the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, is likely to result in a change in the direction of economic policy", it said in a statement on Friday.

Speaking at the ANC Youth League's mini-rally in Ekurhuleni this week, ANC national working committee member and Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane said members of the ruling party in Gauteng would come out in numbers to celebrate Zuma's birthday.

Zwelinzima Vavi, South African Federation of Trade Union leader also addressed the crowd and called for Zuma's ouster.

Save SA convener Sipho Pityana told demonstrators the march is the beginning of many more around the country that will continue until Zuma steps down.

The government appealed for calm and said it respects th right of South Africans to protest peacefully, a legacy of th struggle against white minority rule that ended in 1994 wit the country's first all-race vote and the election of Nelso Mandela as president.

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Police said on Thursday that marches in Pretoria were illegal because they had not been granted permission by city authorities. "Us as Cosas remain resolute as we want him to remain our president‚" said Cosas regional secretary Gugu Nkosi.

Syriana Maesela, 65, a retiree, was on her way by train to Pretoria to join the march, carrying a South African flag.

Zuma and the ruling party, which suffered big losses in municipal elections a year ago, have been weakened by other scandals around the president. Zuma still retains the backing of powerful factions within the ruling ANC party.

Two groups of protesters also scuffled outside the Gupta family mansion in Saxonwold, in Johannesburg's wealthy Sandton business district and the Police presence was beefed up outside the residence to keep anti-Zuma and pro-Zuma protesters apart.

In a bid to keep the pressure on the ANC to recall Mr Zuma from office, the organisers of Friday's protests have announced that another day of nationwide mass action will take place next Wednesday.

Nobel laureate and anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu, 85 and ailing, made a rare public appearance to support the protests.

Protesters in the capital later marched to the seat of government, the Union Buildings, waving placards that read: "South Africa is not for sale".

  • Leroy Wright