Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said it angered him that President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet took it for granted that some black people did not understand what junk status means.
“The downgrade is more than just about the elite, it has more to do with the ordinary people, it will affect them. It has nothing to do with race, but white people will understand it better than black people because of our levels of education and that is why they respond much quicker than us,” he said on Monday.
“This march is not really about Zuma but his recklessness which is going to collapse this country,” he said.
Malema was speaking on Monday at a joint multi-party briefing in Pretoria on the “National Day of Action” expected to take place on Wednesday, the same day that Zuma celebrates his 75th birthday.
Last Friday South Africans took to the streets to protest against Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle which saw the axing of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
The country’s credit rating has since been downgraded to junk status twice following Zuma’s dramatic move.
Malema said the mass demonstrations will continue until Zuma resigns.
He said the EFF supported the UDM’s request to the Constitutional Court to have a secret ballot when the vote of no confidence proceeds on April 18.
“The secret ballot will make it easy for us to remove Zuma.”
Malema said some members of the ANC had indicated that they had been receiving threats and have been intimidated not to vote against Zuma.
If the motion of no confidence succeeds, Malema said Parliament’s Speaker Baleka Mbete would act as president until a new president was elected.
“But I do not think she is fit to be president of this country either,” he said.
He said at this stage, the multi-party leaders had not agreed on who should be the next president.
Malema also criticised ANC MPs saying they put their jobs ahead of saving the country.
“They are scared of losing their job… these are that same people who were prepared to die for the country, but today they are no longer prepared to sacrifice their jobs.”
He said ANC members should not use members of the opposition to help them to remove Zuma, but that it should be the other way round.
“They must put a motion of no confidence and we will vote with the ANC.”
He warned that if the ANC failed to remove Zuma now, the party would lose the 2019 elections.
“They cannot smell the coffee,” he said.
Malema said those marching should not be intimidated by members of the ANC.
“We are not going to be bullied by anyone, even those wearing cheap uniforms from Pep and standing outside Luthuli House and their so-called ANCYL,” he said referring to members of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association.
“What happened at Uncle Kathy’s memorial in Durban at the weekend will not happen here.”
United Democratic Front leader Bantu Holomisa rubbished claims that the march was planned to coincide with Zuma’s birthday on Wednesday.
“When we planned this march, we did not when his birthday was,” said Holomisa.
He said the march would be peaceful.
People are expected to gather at Church Square in Pretoria from 09:00 and then proceed to the Union Buildings at 12:00.
He said organisers had been granted permission to march.