As “persuasion and appeal have failed”‚ an alliance of civil society‚ church‚ trade union and academic organisations will on Wednesday announce a plan for “the people…to reclaim our hard-won democracy from those who defile it for self-interest”.
They met on Tuesday night “in the wake of another vote in Parliament which‚ by voting against impeaching the president‚ dishonoured our Constitution and disappointed millions of people”.
The African National Congress (ANC) had used its majority in the National Assembly on to prevent Jacob Zuma being removed from office.
The National Assembly‚ where the ANC has a 62% majority‚ rejected the motion by 243 votes to 143. There are 400 members of the national assembly in total.
At Tuesday night’s meeting were “representatives of the Anglican Church of SA‚ the Evangelical Alliance‚ the SA Christian Leadership Initiative‚ the United Front‚ trade unions‚ the artists’ coalition and civil society organisations including Corruption Watch and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)”.
They are to hold a “high-level civil society press conference…on the steps of the Constitutional Court on Wednesday”‚ a joint statement said.
Tuesday’s vote “means our country will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis‚” it said.
“Clearly the National Assembly has yet to understand the Constitutional Court’s pronouncements on the separation of powers and its primary duty to defend and advance the Constitution.
“People are feeling pain. Anger and urgency is growing. Ever larger numbers of people and organisations join the clamour to insist that Jacob Zuma resign or be removed by the ANC.
“Political parties have failed. Persuasion and appeal has failed. The courts have spoken. Now the people will have to reclaim our hard won democracy from those who defile it for self-interest.”
It is yet to be seen if the alliance will join a defiance campaign to be initiated by opposition parties‚ which was hinted at in Parliament on Tuesday.
These included marches and court action being used to force the ANC to recall Zuma from office.
During the debate‚ United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said those who opposed Zuma’s continued leadership must meet and defend the constitution.
Holomisa said South Africans should unite and demand that Zuma leave office‚ failing which there should be fresh elections.
The UDM leader made a clear call that parliament must be dissolved.
He was supported by other opposition leaders‚ who said they would join any action that would see Zuma removed from office.
Holomisa said people should urgently prepare for action.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema told ANC MPs soon after the impeachment motion brought by the DA was defeated that the ruling party had violated its constitutional mandate.
“You must be ready for what is coming‚” he said.
Outside Parliament on Tuesday night‚ leaders of the opposition stood together and said they would challenge the ANC and parliament to fulfil its obligation to protect the constitution.
They also called for South Africans to come together to protest against Zuma.
“We have felt that collectively we will be going out to engage South Africans from all walks of life‚ whether church leaders‚ whether they are people of civil society‚ to say let us get together and make it quite clear that we can’t accept the actions that are being taken by Jacob Zuma and the parliament of the republic‚” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane‚ who was flanked by Malema‚ Mosiuoa Lekota and other opposition leaders.
Maimane called for a disciplinary process against Zuma.
Also on Tuesday ‚ former finance minister Trevor Manuel joined other ANC stalwarts – Mathews Phosa and Ahmed Kathrada and some military veterans – in calling for Zuma to resign.