Thousands of South African workers took to the streets of major cities on Wednesday to protest corruption and the scandal-tainted presidency of Jacob Zuma.
The protest was part of a massive strike called by the country’s highly influential trade union.
Dancing protesters in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and elsewhere donned the trademark red of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and carried signs reading: “Zuma must go” and “State capture is a criminal offence.”
Zuma, who was imprisoned alongside Nelson Mandela during the apartheid era for actions against the government, has grown increasingly unpopular in recent years.
Much of the controversy centres on Zuma’s role in a string of scandals involving an influential Indian business family, the Guptas, who have allegedly benefited financially from their friendship with the president.
It is also alleged that the Guptas influenced the appointment of top government officials.
“The workers have said ‘we’ve had enough of this president, and this family, and corruption’,” COSATU spokesman, Sizwe Pamla, said on Wednesday.
“Workers are full of indignation,” Mr. Pamla added.
COSATU said in a statement that it demanded that the government and its institutions cancel commercial dealings with the Gupta family.
The strike comes ahead of a pivotal conference of the ruling African National Congress in December, during which party members will choose their new leader.
The head of the ANC is likely to become South Africa’s next president.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s ex-wife, is running for the ANC leadership, as is Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is supported by COSATU.
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