CAPE TOWN, Sept. 28– Thousands of people took to the streets in South Africa’s Cape Town on Wednesday in protest against state capture and corruption.
This was part of the nationwide protests organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), two coalition partners with the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Hundreds of protesters marched to the office of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) in Adderley Street, calling for an end to state capture. PRASA is a state-owned enterprise believed to have fallen victim to state capture.
Outside Parliament, another major gathering point, a crowd of protesters were dancing and singing revolutionary songs. Some protesters were carrying placards urging President Jacob Zuma to step down. A middle-aged protester, who identified himself as Louis Dunkee, said he wanted Zuma to resign, accusing him of collaborating with the Indian Gupta family in looting the state coffers. Zuma has been accused of allowing the Guptas to exert undue influence in the appointment of cabinet ministers and of awarding lucrative contracts to the Guptas in what is called “state capture”. Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied the charge. “The Guptas must go to where they came from and those found guilty of collaborating with them must be held accountable,” Dunkee said.
Traffic in several streets in central Cape Town has been brought to a standstill. An estimated 10,000 marchers were set to make their way past Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s office and Parliament, organizers said. Police said the protest had been peacefully so far.The organizers said they wanted the protests to raise awareness about the impact of state capture and corruption. “The message that we want to raise is that people should not look at state capture and corruption as something that does not affect you. It affects all of us in our daily lives,” COSATU General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said. COSATU said the protests across the country would be the largest in post-apartheid South Africa. The union federation urged its 1.2 million members to take part in the protests, while the SACP said it had mobilized 250,000 members. The protest action was approved by the National Economic Development and Labor Council in August. – XINHUA