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Anti-Zuma rally as South Africa honours 1994 election

People hold a mock-coffin bearing the national flag and the face of President Jacob Zuma during a rally organised by the newly formed “Freedom Movement” which comprises of opposition parties, religious community and civil society, at Caledonian Stadium on April 27, 2017 in Pretoria. The movement is aiming at intensifying efforts to force Zuma to step down. / AFP PHOTO / Phill MAGAKOE

South Africa on Thursday marked 23 years since its first post-apartheid election with some protesters calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign after numerous corruption scandals.

At his address to commemorate the April 27, 1994 election that brought Nelson Mandela to power, Zuma hailed the end of white-minority rule as “one of the greatest achievements of humankind”.

“We have achieved political freedom but economic freedom still remains largely elusive… the majority of black people are still economically disempowered,” Zuma said at the event in KwaZulu Natal province.

Zuma, who came to power in 2009, has faced fierce criticism over government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth.

In the latest protest calling for his resignation, about 2,000 people — mainly from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party — gathered in Pretoria.

“The old order is dying and a new struggle is born,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane told the crowd.

“The old order gave us corruption, looting and the abuse of power.”

The rally attracted lower numbers than other recent anti-Zuma protests.

The sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last month fanned public anger against the president.

The ruling ANC party, which Zuma leads, has lost popularity in recent years and slipped to 55 percent of the vote in last year’s local elections — its worst ever result.

Zuma is due to stand down in 2019.

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