“You are responsible for creating a historical sadness” - Archbishop

| GroundUp Staff
Religious leaders brave the rain and lead the march against corruption in Cape Town. Photo by Barbara Maregele.

Nearly 2,000 people braved the cold and rain to join the Unite Against Corruption march to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday. Between 3,000 and 5,000 people participated in the main march in Pretoria. Smaller marches also took place in other cities, including Durban and Grahamstown.

The sound of singing and chanting echoed as the large group lead by religious leaders, activist organisations and trade unions marched from Keizersgracht Street to Parliament via Adderley Street and then Plein Street.

“I’m speaking to President Jacob Zuma, national and local government leaders, and business. You are responsible for creating a historical sadness in SA. But we are also the ones who allowed you to do it,” said Anglican Church of Southern Africa Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

UAC24-JulietteGarms-20150930.jpg About 2,000 people, from a wide cross-section of South African society, participated in the Cape Town march. Photo by Juliette Garms.

Unite Against Corruption is a group of organisations and trade unions campaigning against corruption. Its memorandum called for an end to the diversion of state funds away from their intended purpose. The movement also demands adequate housing, improved safety and security in communities and transparency from government and political parties. The two-page memorandum was accepted today by Sid Peimer, the Executive Director of the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

The group plans to conduct another march to Parliament on October 14, where it hopes to hand over its demands.

UAC22-JulietteGarms-20150930.jpgUrsula Fataar is holding the placard in the Cape Town march. Photo by Juliette Garms.

After a moment of silence outside Parliament on Wednesday, Makgoba said people should focus on being courageous in their bid to fight corruption. “When I was younger, courage was an integral part of being part of the old struggle. The leaders of today, who were once part of the old struggle, have been known to punish anyone who shows courage and wants to uphold these values,” he said. Makgoba added that the price of corruption was inequality.

Also joining the march was former cabinet member Ronnie Kasrils, who now works on the United Front National Working Committee. He said: “There’s nothing like the sound of people marching and chanting for what’s right. It stems from the fruits of our liberation … Everyone says they are against corruption, but where are they today? and what are they doing about it?”

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) community mobiliser Michael Hamnca said that the public healthcare system was in a dire state because of corruption. “It comes down to tenders. Contractors should only be awarded contracts if they are the best for the job and not because they are affiliated to the people in power. We are here to hold government and businesses that support the state accountable,” he said.

UAC25-JulietteGarms-20150930.jpgSocial Justice Coalition activists were not put off by the rain. Photo by Juliette Garms.

Jaap Le Roux of the Christian organisation Unashamedly Ethical said he supported any movement that promoted “clean living” and transparency.

Langa resident, Simphiwe Majola, said residents in the community were unhappy with the allocation of houses in Langa. “People who have been on the [housing] database in the area are still waiting for homes, but people who are not even from the area have moved in already. Is that fair? We are here to demand answers,” he said.

UAC21-JohnWessels-20150930.jpgEFF members were the most numerous contingent at the Pretoria march. Photo by John Wessels.

UAC23-JulietteGarms-20150930.jpgThe sign of Cape Town protester Jasmina Saho says, “Eradicate corruption. It destroys human dignity, nations and countries …”. Photo by Juliette Garms.

GroundUp live blogged the event. Here are the updates and photos we published during the event.

UPDATE 13:00

UAC19-JulietteGarms-20150930_0.jpg Archbishop Thabo Makgoba addresses marchers in front of Parliament. Photo by Juliette Garms.

UAC20-JRR-20150930.jpgProtesters outside Parliament. Photo by Jacques Rousseau.

UPDATE 12:57

UAC18-JulietteGarms-20150930.jpgView of the Cape Town crowd. Photo by Juliette Garms.

UPDATE 12:53

UAC17-JohnWessels-20150930.jpgMarch heads down Francis Baard Street in Pretoria. Photo by John Wessels.

UPDATE 12:38

UAC16-JohnWessels-20150930.jpg The marchers proceed down Lilian Ngoyi Street in Pretoria. One estimate we’ve received is that there are now 10,000 people participating in the Pretoria march. (We’ve since received revised estimates that count much lower, between 4,000 to 5,000 people.) Photo by John Wessels.

UPDATE 12:30

UAC15-JulietteGarms-20150930.jpgProtesters at the Cape Town march. Photo by Juliette Garms.

UPDATE 12:22

UAC14-AnsoThom-20150930.jpgPolice film the Pretoria protest. Photo courtesy of Anso Thom.

UPDATE 12:12

UAC12-Shayne-20150930.jpg “South Africans from every walk of life are taking part in the march against corruption in Pretoria,” a protester says. Photo by Shayne Robinson.

UAC13-AnsoThom-20150930.jpg EFF head, Julius Malema, at the Pretoria march. Photo courtesy of Anso Thom.

UPDATE 11:58

UAC11-BarbaraMaregele-20150930.jpg A variation on a popular board game, Cape Town. Photo by Juliette Garms.

UPDATE 11:52

UAC9-JulietteGarms-20150930.jpgProtesters in Cape Town. Photo by Juliette Garms.

UPDATE 11:46

UAC8-JohnWessels-20150930.jpg The Pretoria march has started. Photo by John Wessels.

UPDATE 11:42

UAC7-JohnWessels-20150930.jpg Gathering for the Pretoria march. Photo by John Wessels.

UPDATE: 11:36

UAC6-AnsoThom-20150930.jpgIce cream seller at Pretoria march. Photo courtesy of Anso Thom.

UPDATE 11:20

Participants in the Pretoria march estimate that there already 2,000 people. One of our Cape Town reporters in Cape Town estimates that there are also 2,000 people so far at that march.

UAC5-BarbaraMaregele-20150930.jpgProtester in Cape Town. Photo by Barbara Maregele.

UAC4-BarbaraMaregele-20150930.jpgArtists against corruption take the stage in Cape Town. Photo by Barbara Maregele.

Before the Pretoria march. Photo courtesy of Anso Thom.

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TOPICS:  Civil Society Corruption Crime Government Human Rights

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