Forum speaks up against corruption

The South Africa First Forum marched to the National Prosecuting Authority offices in Cape Town last week.

The South Africa First Forum, a civil society group, held a protest and silent vigil in the city last week against government corruption and state capture.

The forum, which was formed earlier this year, has already held several marches.

On Wednesday November 2, dozens of people, including ANC MP and whistle-blower Vytie Mentor, religious leaders and representatives from civic groups and the business community, marched from St George’s Cathedral to the National Prosecuting Authority office in Cape Town.

They then returned to the cathedral for a silent vigil and interfaith service.

The event was held to show solidarity with Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan who faced charges, which were later dropped, by the NPA.

On the day of the protest, former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report was made public after President Jacob Zuma abandoned his interdict application in the North Gauteng High Court to stop its release.

Cosatu Western Cape secretary general Tony Ehrenreich, spotted on the sidelines of the protest, said he supported a call for the end of corruption.

“We’ve also got to realise that there are many other instances of corruption. We must not be selective in our calls for justice and must deal with it so that underlying problems in the country are redressed and restored.”

He said the calls from various sectors for President Zuma to step down underscored how grave the crisis was. “People are deeply unhappy with what’s happening, and the country is on a worrying trajectory. Protest and civil strife is increasing, so clearly something urgent must be done

“There are lot’s of worrying things that the president has done and that makes him unsuitable for the highest office. I support calls for him to give up the leadership and for the ANC to find leadership that can take us out of the crisis.”

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who led the silent vigil on the steps of the cathedral, said the release of the public protector’s report on state capture was a victory for democracy.

“We have a legal framework and a system that works. We need to deal with the public protector’s report. This is quite an exciting moment in the history of democracy.”

He said he was praying that the truth would set all South Africans free.

“As South Africans we need to see the urgency in doing away with inequality because that is just going to undermine every gain that we have made. I can’t believe I was doing the same thing in 1976, I long to see us moving forward.”