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South Africans hold anti-corruption demos in Pretoria, Cape Town

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People hold banners and placards in Pretoria, South Africa, during an anti-corruption demonstration organized by South Africa civil society, September 30, 2015. ©AFP

Thousands of South Africans have held demonstrations in Pretoria and Cape Town to voice anger at widespread corruption, amid a host of graft scandals and a stagnant economy.

Nearly 4,000 demonstrators took to the streets on Wednesday in the two cities to condemn corruption in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party as well as public services.

They held banners that read, “Corruption taxes the poor, we say tax the rich,” and, “Apartheid stole the past, corruption steals our future.”

Zwelinzima Vavi, one of the protest organizers and a former trade union leader said the protesters are marching against “a scourge in society that is truly threatening the future of our country.”

“We have become the most unequal land in... humanity. There is no country that tolerates so much inequality as we do,” Vavi added in his remarks to the crowds outside government buildings in Pretoria.

South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu also expressed his support for the event in a statement as he was not able to attend the demonstration due to ill health.

South African woes

The demonstrations come as people in South Africa are furious at President Jacob Zuma’s recent move to spend USD 24 million (21 million euros) on improving his private residence.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma © AFP

South Africa suffers from a record high 50-percent unemployment rate among its youth and its economic growth has only been two percent this year.

One of the protesters in Pretoria denounced corruption in South Africa as “a virus… a cancer eating people’s benefits,” adding, “If it wasn't for corruption, imagine how many households would be released from poverty, how many schools would be built?”

The demonstrators have planned another national anti-corruption protest on October 14.

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