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South African President Zuma rejects calls for him to step down

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday rejected calls for him to step down, saying his fate is to be determined by the majority.

"I will only step down once the majority says so," Zuma said at an Easter Service at the Twelve Apostles of Christ Church in Umgababa, south of Durban.

Zuma said he would not walk away unless most South Africans want him to do so.

"Only the people of South Africa will remove me from office," Zuma said.

He said some people wanted him to step down because he’s "telling the truth."

Zuma was responding to widespread protests taking place on April 7 and onwards amid growing calls for him to step down.

The protests were sparked by a cabinet reshuffle effected by Zuma on March 31.

The reshuffle, which saw the sacking of well-respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and nine other ministers, led international rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to junk status, respectively on April 3 and April 7.

In his remarks on Sunday, Zuma linked the protests to colonialism.

The recent civic action calling for him to step down "is merely a defence of colonialism," said Zuma.

Zuma said he would continue to strive for economic transformation so as to fix problems that have existed for long.

The economic power should be shifted to the people so everyone can enjoy it, he said.

Zuma called for an end to poverty among blacks, saying: "Even if they remove the president who says this, the next one will do the same."

The president urged members of the church to pray for the country and its leaders.

"I wish you to pray very hard for our nation so that the respect should come back ... and (pray) that our country should have good governance," Zuma said.


Road crash claims at least 12 lives in South Africa

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- A bus carrying dozens of passengers overturned on Saturday in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province, killing at least 12 people and injuring 13 others, authorities said.

The driver apparently lost control of the vehicle, causing the accident, the transport department in KwaZulu-Natal said.

Police said fatigue might be blamed for the accident.

This came despite a drive-safely campaign aimed at reducing road carnages by 50 percent during the Easter holiday which lasts until Monday.

It is unfortunate that South Africa experiences high volumes of traffic movement and a heightened number of road crashes during the holiday as people travel to places of worship and other destinations, President Jacob Zuma said in an Easter message.

"We would therefore like to appeal to all road users to drive cautiously, take rest intervals when tired, and to not drink and drive. Drivers must also obey the rules of the road and respect other users all the time," Zuma said.

The South African Police Service (SAPS), supported by other law enforcement agencies, government departments and stakeholders, has heightened police visibility and increased its operations over the Easter holiday period.

A total of 156 people died on South African roads during the Easter holiday last year.

South Africa is among the countries that have the highest road facilities.

The country has more than 700,000 crashes a year on average, with three children dying every day in road accidents, according to the Road Traffic Management Corporation.


FOCUS: South Africa taking urgent steps to avoid new Downgrade




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