Round 2 of national protests: A birthday present for Zuma

This time, the galvanizing issue is not race, but Zuma's leadership - most recently, his controversial decision to fire a respected finance minister and eight other cabinet members.

"We thank the patriotic South Africans who are coming out in numbers to oppose Zuma's corruption, recklessness and self-enrichment in mass action across the country, including yesterday's National Day of Action", van Damme said.

The troubled South African leader turns 75 today, and his party, the African National Congress (ANC) has organised a celebratory rally to be held at the Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown.

But in the capital, Pretoria, organisers say at least 10,000 people are expected to join the second anti-Zuma march.

The reaction was emphatic: from open dissent manifest in senior ruling ANC figures publicly disagreeing with the President, to protest marches that took place across the country on Friday.

South Africa's ex-leader Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday waded into a no-confidence debate against President Jacob Zuma, urging lawmakers to set aside political affiliation during next week's vote.

On Monday, Zuma said many white demonstrators calling for his resignation are racist.

In fact, Zuma's power grab is a mistake that could be fateful to South Africa.

"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.

(President Jacob) Zuma wants to rule this country like all these African countries and this not that kind of country, this one. The ANC as a party has largely stood by its President.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema told protesters that the parties had agreed to put their differences aside for the sake of South Africa's economic future.

After his move, the South African rand tumbled and the country's bonds were downgraded to junk status.

"We only need 65 to 70 people from the ANC, and the secret ballot can deliver the votes to remove Zuma", Bantu Holomisa, head of the smaller United Democratic Movement (UDM), which is also backing the no-confidence vote against Zuma, said.

ANC members, such as Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisilu, Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu and Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, perceived as willing to challenge the president, have reportedly been threatened recently, but Malema said ANC MPs must remove the president.

"We can not say we are ousting a rogue president but engage in hooliganism'" he said.

  • Leroy Wright