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Protests mar Jacob Zuma’s 75th birthday

Tens of thousands of South Africans from various political and civil society groups march to the Union Buildings to protest against South African president and demand his resignation on April 7, 2017 in Pretoria,
The protest comes after South African President Jacob Zuma dismissed widely respected South African Minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet reshuffle. The move by Zuma has caused the South African economy to be given a ‘junk’ rating by two of the international financial ratings agencies widely seen as a move to allow a controversial nuclear deal with Russia to go through, as well as allowing the Gupta family to buy a bank in the country, neither of which Gordhan would allow as Minister of Finance. A cut-out poster of Atul Gupta is visible. / AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN

As South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma marks 75th birthday protesters organised by opposition parties descends on Pretoria demanding he steps down.

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

His party, the African National Congress (ANC) 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‚ this time organised by seven opposition parties.

The first march, organised by Save South Africa, was held countrywide last Friday.

The opposition parties are the Democratic Alliance (DA), Congress of the People (COPE), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), African People’s Convention (APC) and United Democratic Movement (UDM).

They have united to put pressure on the beleaguered leader.

Ironically, President Zuma’s foe, Pravin Gordhan, the former Finance Minister fired a fortnight ago, shares a birthday with the president.

Mr. Gordhan‚ whose axing angered South Africans‚ is celebrating his 58th birthday.

Opposition parties have dubbed Wednesday’s march “a national day of action”.

Early Wednesday morning marchers started gathering at Church Square and are scheduled to march to the Union Building, which houses President Zuma’s office at lunch time.

During a joint briefing in Pretoria on Monday, the parties said the mass action to the Union Buildings marks “the beginning of a consciousness movement aimed at educating ordinary South Africans about the consequences of being downgraded to junk status by rating agencies.”

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