Thousands of #NelsonMandelaBay residents rallied at the City Hall in #PortElizabeth yesterday, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down. 📷 Brian Witbooi #SAVESA #southafrica #SA #unity #flags #amandla #MyPE #ilovemycity #CityOfPE #PEvibes #ProudlyPe #sharethebay #WhyWeLovePE #instapic #instaview #PeopleOfPE #nofilter #reshuffle #colours #sunshine #citylife #democracy
Pityana warns on losing freedom at PE rally
As new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba moved into the Treasury with a large entourage of his former Home Affairs staff yesterday, thousands of people rallied in Port Elizabeth, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
SaveSA leader Sipho Pityana said the rally at the City Hall was not against the ANC, but against Zuma, who ousted former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, and five other ministers in a late-night cabinet reshuffle on Thursday.
Last night, ANC leaders were locked in a marathon national working committee meeting at Luthuli House to discuss, among other things, Cosatu’s call yesterday for Zuma to stand down.
Party spokesman Zizi Kodwa emerged at 9pm to say: “It’s going to be a long night.”
He said details about the meeting would be revealed today.
Earlier, Pityana told the Port Elizabeth rally: “We all fought as different races believing in a non-racial South Africa against apartheid. Nobody has a right to take that away from us as citizens.
“Zuma has arrogated to himself alone a prerogative and an illegitimate right to sell our hard-won freedom and self-determination to the Guptas in exchange for money for himself and his family. “We will not allow that. “We thank [former public protector] Thuli Madonsela because in her report it confirms that Zuma sold the ANC to the Guptas.
“We thank Mcebisi Jonas for taking a stand to defend our freedom and end the rot of Zuma. That is why he was fired.
“While the nation slept, in the dark hours, Zuma launched a final onslaught to reshuffle his cabinet and fire [Gordhan and Jonas].
“He replaced them with the same Malusi Gigaba who appointed Brian Molefe at Eskom,” Pityana said, to loud applause.
The Treasury had been overrun and people should be having sleepless nights, he said.
Just minutes before the rally, Cosatu also called on Zuma to step down, saying he did not have leadership abilities. Shortly afterwards, ANC stalwarts and veterans strongly urged the party to recall Zuma.
Zuma’s reshuffle has split the ANC top six, with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize all expressing their unhappiness with his unilateral decision to fire Gordhan and Jonas.
Meanwhile, the throngs of Bay residents gathered at the City Hall shouted repeatedly, “Zuma must go”.
They said the gathering was part of the build-up to the countrywide “shutdown” action on Friday to push for Zuma to quit.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber spokeswoman Cindy Preller confirmed they had been receiving inquiries from businesses about the shutdown.
Also present were mayor Athol Trollip and religious leaders.
Jonas, who had been expected to attend, had to call off his visit due to changes in his schedule, according to SaveSA co-organiser Mkhuseli Jack.
Former ANC MP and Black Sash leader Judy Chalmers told the crowd she was disappointed by the recent events.
“We never dreamed that in a short three decades we would be gathering once more in a desperate struggle to free our land from the clutches of a greedy, heartless cabal, some of whom are not South African,” she said.
“We never thought we would now be fighting for the soul of the ANC of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki, the future of our land and of our people.
“It is up to us all to act and save South Africa.”
Meanwhile, there are signals that Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile could leave as soon as the end of this month.
His departure would raise questions about whether more of the Treasury’s senior officials might walk out, eroding the technical expertise and institutional memory of the 1 000-strong Treasury.
It is understood that Gigaba moved into the Treasury’s Church Square offices in Pretoria with about 28 of the ministerial staff and advisers who served him in his previous post at Home Affairs.
In contrast, Gordhan shared a ministerial staff of just nine people with Jonas.
The Gigaba entourage includes political adviser Thamsanqa Msomi, who serves on the Denel board and has been reported to have Gupta links, and legal adviser Kholeka Gcaleka.
The minister’s spokesman, Mayihlome Tshwete, provided the advisers’ names on Twitter, saying he would announce other key appointments when finalised.
The highly regarded Fuzile, who has been with the Treasury for 19 years and in the DG’s post for six years, said yesterday he had not been asked to leave.
But he is understood to have been devastated by insinuations against him in the so-called intelligence report Zuma used to justify sacking Gordhan and Jonas.
Yesterday, Gigaba revealed S&P Global Ratings decided to downgrade South Africa’s foreign currency rating to sub-investment grade (junk) status on Friday morning, just hours after the cabinet reshuffle.
He would not explain why, although he had been confidentially informed of S&P’s decision on Friday, he had still assured the media on Monday that the country would not be downgraded “because of just one person”.
He also disclosed that he had spoken to Moody’s and Fitch on Friday.
Moody’s put South Africa’s ratings on review for a downgrade on Monday night, just hours after S&P’s downgrade was announced.
A downgrade review typically took 30 to 90 days, a Moody’s spokesman said, and the agency would therefore not go ahead with its scheduled statement this Friday.
Moody’s also on Tuesday put South Africa’s ’s five largest banks on review for a downgrade, citing the potential weakening of the government’s credit profile.
Also on review are the ratings of four insurance groups – Sasol, Bidvest, Transnet and development finance institutions.