Despite the inclement weather in the Mother City, thousands of supporters marched to show their disdain against the high levels of corruption in the country. Elsewhere in the country, Pretoria saw masses show their solidarity for the cause as they stood outside the Union Building in hopes of highlighting the extent of corruption within government institutions.
Under the banner of ‘Unite Against Corruption’ representatives from various civil society, faith-based organisations and workers’ unions chanted calls for an end to corruption in government and the private sector as well.
Leading the march were representatives from all faith based organisations from the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) to the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, unified under the collective call.
Former South African intelligence minister, Ronnie Kasrils opened the floor as the crowd gathered outside Parliament.
“As we march and sing in the streets, be quite clear in your minds as to why you do it. There is nothing like the sound of the people singing in protest and strength. There is nothing like the sound of marching feet as people in all their formations rise up in this troubled world where there is a capitalist international system which is breeding greed and corruption,” Kasrils told the crowd of thousands cheered him on.
A myriad of religious leaders showed their support. Cape Town’s Archbishop Magkoba stood tall on the back of the truck, a make-shift stage, and spoke about the concept of courage.
“Courage was the single most important ingredient in the success of the old struggle. Yet today, those same leaders who showed courage in the old struggle, they have not only abandoned the concept, they punish anyone who tries to uphold the principles of courage. Today we shouldn’t be rallying against corruption. Instead we should be asking if we are ready to fulfil our country’s destiny but showing the same level of courage that brought on our liberation from apartheid. Nothing less will work,” Archbishop Thabo said.
Members of the ulema were also out in full force.
“We join the call to say no to corruption. We know the future of South Africa rests with the fact that we are one of the largest unequal societies in the world which is unacceptable. This is due to the fact that there is corruption within the business sectors, government and civil society. We stand against all forms of corruption,” MJC secretary-general, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie told VOC News after the event.
Only just a few members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa were seen joining the action.
“Some of us decided that we are going to take unpaid leave for today, besides the fact that Nedlac has not given us the go-ahead to strike. They did not want us to take leave but we decided on unpaid leave instead to support the event. This is such a powerful day for us. This is just the start, people will start to see the importance of being part of this call to address corruption because it is us workers on the ground who bear the brunt,” NUMSA member, Jason Maguda explained.
As the rain began to pour, supporters remained steadfast in their plight as the memorandum was read out before being handed over to Parliamentary officials.
Some points in the memorandum called for included:
-A need for government to prioritise combating corruption in the provisions of basic goods and services and the protection of civil rights.
-Accountable and transparent leadership
-Effective enforcement and implementation of laws
-Protection of whistle blowers
-Greater respect for the Office of the Public Protector
-Greater accountability from business
-Transparent regulation of public procurement.
Thousands more are expected to join in on another Unite Against Corruption March in Cape Town on the 14th October, for those union members unable to attend Wednesday’s protest action. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)