Thousands of S.African protesters ask for president to be recalled - CNBC Africa

Thousands of S.African protesters ask for president to be recalled

Southern Africa

by Peroshni Govender 0

Thousands of marchers demanded President Jacob Zuma step down in rallies across South Africa on Wednesday. Photo: Corruption Watch

(Reuters) Thousands of marchers demanded President Jacob Zuma step down in rallies across South Africa on Wednesday, blaming him for a week of financial turmoil triggered by his sacking of the finance minister.

Crowds answered appeals on social media to gather in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on the eastern coastline, carrying posters reading "Save South Africa" and "Recall Zuma now".

Zuma appointed David van Rooyen, a former mayor, to replace the widely respected Nhlanhla Nene last Wednesday, a move that caused a selling frenzy in the rand, bonds and stock market.

He then changed his mind late on Sunday and reappointed former finance minister Pravin Gordhan to the post he held from 2009 to 2014.

Protesters chanted "Zuma must fall" as they gathered at the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg.

"The people in the (ruling) ANC are sharing the money, that's why they haven't recalled him," said Thembani Nyandeni, a 28-year-old protester who told Reuters he had been unemployed for the past four years.

There was no immediate government response to the marches. But senior leaders in the ANC have rejected other calls for Zuma to be replaced.

Addressing a government event in Port Elizabeth planned to mark a public holiday, Zuma steered clear of the row.

He said South Africans, mostly the black majority, had made strides since the fall of apartheid in 1994 but acknowledged that black businesses could play a greater role in the economy.

Adding to the government's woes, Moody's Investors Service cut its outlook on South Africa to "negative" from "stable" late on Tuesday, citing structural challenges in the country's mining industry and increasing political pressures.

On Wednesday South Africa's Treasury said it is addressing concerns about the rising risk of fiscal slippage raised by ratings agency Moody's, pledging to focus on debt stabilisation in the medium term.

(Additional reporting by Mfuneko Toyano; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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