Civil society cancels its anti-corruption march in honour of 8th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death
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Johannesburg - The eighth anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela on Saturday has forced the postponement of the anti-corruption march to the Union Building by the Defenders of our Democracy.
The anti-corruption march was due to part of the civil society organisations’ national Anti-Corruption Week which began on Friday and runs until December 10.
Spokesperson Duduetsang Mmeti said the campaign called off Saturday’s march since it coincided with the passing of Mandela on December 5, 2013.
“The march was meant to have been one of the key events taking place during the week. A series of smaller in-person, and online activations by a range of organisations will however, proceed as planned in a build up to International Anti-Corruption Day, marked annually on 9 December.
“The march was initially scaled down to a picket, following reports of the new Covid-19 variant,” Mmeti said.
She said the decision was taken in light of the rapidly increasing infection rate, and the serious risks involved in transporting large groups of people from around the province to march collectively to the Union Buildings.
“The picket, however, is now also called off due to a refusal by law enforcement to grant permission for any public activation by the campaign on the day at the Union Buildings and specifically, at the Mandela statue – where we were told protest action can no longer take place.
“We believe that corruption is an issue that concerned Mandela deeply and that the site that memorialises his life should be a space in which social justice activists and members of the public should be free to demonstrate, and draw linkages with his legacy.
“As we begin Anti-Corruption Week, we reiterate our commitment to responsible mobilisation and doing our part to stop the spread of the virus. We urge organisations, community forums, religious institutions and individuals to follow all Covid-19 health protocols, to vaccinate and take extra precaution if organising in-person activations during the week,” Mmeti said.
To mark the start of the week, the campaign hosted a hybrid book launch on “The Anatomy of State Capture”, with editors Robyn Foley and Mark Swilling from the Centre for Sustainability Transitions in Johannesburg. The event included inputs from SIU head, Andy Mothibi. The programme was dedicated to honouring the memory of Babita Deokaran and all slain whistleblowers and corruption fighters.
The campaign will also be supporting various activations by partner organisations, including, among others, the launch of the international “Bring back the Guptas” campaign; the launch of a whistleblower perceptions survey report; a host of religious sector events against corruption; community pickets, small marches and bridge brigades, a demonstration outside Parliament, as well as webinars that will focus on issues related to the Zondo and Moerane Commissions.