Political parties stage anti-Zuma protests in Pretoria

The march was led by the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, along with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and smaller opposition parties.

The celebration of Zuma's birthday took place in Soweto and Johannesburg.

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

Opposition parties are ramping up pressure on the ANC to act against President Jacob Zuma, uniting in a campaign calling for his removal.

Thousands, including members of opposition parties and civil organisations, are expected to march from Church Square in Pretoria to the Union Buildings.

"Zuma is no longer a credible president of South Africa", far-left political leader Julius Malema told the ebullient crowd. "You know, we're all from ANC (African National Congress political party) but you know what, we are sick and exhausted for this Zuma", said a protes-ter, sakhi Khayi.

"Zuma must leave office and the soonest he does that the better, because this country must recover economically", said Mr Malema. The so-called National Day of Action protests are scheduled to coincide with Zuma's 75th birthday.

"Things may pick up once Zuma is gone or once we know who his replacement is going to be because markets are very good at dealing with poor situations if they are stable situations", Newton said.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has sought to reassure investors since Gordhan was sacked.

He said that in December a new leader for the party would be selected, and come January, the opposition would attack them too.

The DA's online "No Confidence" petition against President Jacob Zuma, has passed the 500 000 signatures mark, making it the biggest political online petition in history - at least, that's according to the party in blue.

Wrapping up his speech, Zuma said: "If tomorrow you (ANC) say that I should step down, I will do so with a pure heart".

Former president Thabo Mbeki urged MPs yesterday to put the country first when they voted, saying the Constitutional Court had outlined the role of MPs in its Nkandla judgment‚ which criticised parliament for not rapping Zuma over the knuckles by implementing the findings of the public protector.

The ANC suffered historic losses in last year's municipal elections, but until recently analysts suggested that the party had enough nationwide support to win the next presidential election in 2019.

He then turned his attention to opposition parties, who have in recent times launched an onslaught against his presidency.

  • Leroy Wright