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South Africans hold nationwide protests against Zuma

South Africans hold nationwide protests against Zuma

Credit rating agency Fitch downgraded South Africa's rating to junk status on Friday as tens of thousands of people around the country protested President Jacob Zuma's decision to fire his popular finance minister last week.

Some veterans of the ANC's armed wing, which dates back to the anti-apartheid struggle, have gathered outside the party's headquarters in Johannesburg, British Broadcaster, BBC reported.

All backgrounds In Cape Town city centre alone, more than 30,000 people from all backgrounds marched peacefully to parliament, calling for an end to government corruption and Mr Zuma's presidency.

"The Cabinet reshuffle, which involved the replacement of the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and the deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, is likely to result in a change in the direction of economic policy".

Many who attended the protest at the Union Buildings flew the South African flag high and held up placards against Zuma.

In Johannesburg, police fired stun grenades at demonstrators near the home of the Gupta family, a powerful South African business family.

Gordhan, a person of Indian origin, has become a symbol of the fight against corruption for refusing to approve several projects that would allegedly benefit businessmen close to Zuma.

Nobel Peace Prize victor Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of Zuma's harshest critics, took part in a protest with a few others outside the retirement home where he and his wife are staying in Hermanus, a coastal town 120 km (76 miles) from Cape Town.

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One protester, Lydia Potgieter, 69, told the Guardian that she was at the march to "support the efforts of all South Africans to be rid of a corrupt system that is eating away everything we have worked for over the last 20 years".

It's believed that up to 50,000 people have turned out to protest against President Jacob Zouma across South Africa.

"We must stand together as one", Mould said.

The Guptas deny any wrongdoing, and Mr Zuma has said there was nothing improper in the way he chose ministers. Tutu was shown smiling and raising a walking stick, apparently to acknowledge passing protesters.

Mr Zuma dodged further calls for him to step down by powerful bodies in the country, such as unions and the South African communist party.

Mr Zuma was forced to reimburse some state money after the Constitutional Court ruled against him past year in a dispute over millions of dollars spent on his private home.

Fitch said it had chosen to downgrade both South Africa's foreign and local currency ratings from BBB- to BB+ because the cabinet reshuffle in particular would "weaken the standards of governance and public finances".

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