Organisers of the Unite Against Corruption March gave the government yesterday a wish list of demands including that the state strengthen anticorruption institutions such as the public protector.
Although the organisers had said they wanted upwards of 100,000 people to form part of the protest, only an estimated 5,000 showed up for demonstrations in Cape Town and Pretoria.
On Friday, the initiative was dealt a setback when the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) failed to secure a section 77 notice for the march at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), which would have given workers protection to take part in the protest. Nedlac gave the union strike protection for a later date — October 8, a day after the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is scheduled to take to the streets against job losses.
Religious leaders, opposition parties, civil society formations and organised labour came together yesterday and collectively demanded of the Presidency that it deal decisively with individuals and firms found guilty of corruption.
Prominent faces included former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.
Protesters booed Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Jeff Radebe, who received the memorandum on behalf of the Presidency.
The Democratic Alliance and the Congress of the People also threw their weight behind the march. Lawyers for Human Rights, Equal Education, Section27, the Treatment Action Campaign, Sonke Gender Justice, and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation also lent their support to the march.
Mr Malema said the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) loss of electoral support was partly driven by growing dissatisfaction about corruption. “The ANC lost 10% in Gauteng. It is no joke.”
The party issued a statement in which it said it welcomed the anti- corruption initiative and encouraged the movement to support various measures put in place by the government to combat the scourge.
The government has until the end of the month to respond to the initiative’s demands.
But Mr Vavi said protesters would return in two weeks’ time expecting the arrest, or resignation, of Cabinet ministers who had been involved in, or failed to address, corruption. firstname.lastname@example.org