Blaauwberg residents came out in their hundreds last week, joining the nationwide protests calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign.
Mr Zuma’s presidency has been dogged by scandal and allegations of widespread corruption. The last straw for many was his decision to recall Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Mr Gordhan’s deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, in the middle of an overseas investor roadshow and then axe them, along with several other ministers and deputy ministers, during a late-night cabinet reshuffle on Thursday March 30.
Shortly afterwards, ratings agencies Standard&Poor’s and Fitch downgraded the country’s credit rating to junk status citing Mr Gordhan’s dismissal as one of the reasons for this.
Residents lined the R27 and mustered in their hundreds at Marine Circle on Friday April 7. They waved flags and placards, and their message was loud and clear: “Zuma must fall”. It was a call amplified by frequent chants by the crowds and the constant hooting of passing cars.
For about two hours, the community of the greater Table View area lined the roads and waved their flags. Not since the World Cup in 2010, said some, had the “gees” and solidarity been so strong. In Marine Circle all the way up Beach Boulevard, protesters made the most of the balmy weather to stand along the seaside and call for change. Many cars drove up and down decorated with white and pink and blue ribbons; others had passengers hanging out of the windows holding their placards.
In Melkbosstrand, families came and pulled out their chairs on the busy highway, as passing traffic hooted support.
Staff from a Melkbosstrand petrol station were given an hour off work to join in the protest.
Smaller groups of protesters gathered at the R27 intersections with West Coast Village, Parklands Main Road and Blaauwberg Road.
Further afield, Katerina Ferreira, who works at Northgate Island, said she and her colleagues had been allowed to leave work for an hour at midday. They stood on the corner of Section Street and Koeberg Road, where their impromptu protest was joined by others.
In Marine Circle, Matthew Sanna and Mariska Bezuidenhout said they had been given the day off. They said it was important for everyone to stand together to show a united front.
“We really hope this has an effect. What would also help is if, as a nation, we would all stop paying our taxes.”
Other protesters, Mark van Rensburg and Colleen Hale from Table View said, “It’s time for the government to stop looting us. We want our country back as a unified, non-corrupt state.”
Themba Monisi, from Parklands, said she felt grateful and moved to be part of the protest. “I haven’t felt so emotional for a long time over a national issue. This is a day, we as a nation will remember for a long time. Friday April 7 is
hopefully the start of a new chapter in our history.”