PRETORIA, Nelson Mandela’s eldest granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela, has told an opposition rally here that South Africa is in dire of leaders who have moral values and integrity and will uphold the Constitution.

She was addressing a Freedom Movement rally in Pretoria at which political leaders reiterated their call for President Jacob Zuma to step down. It was held to coincide with Freedom Day, which marked the anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections on April 27, 1994.

This is the day that we should remind ourselves what we stand for as the people, as a country. We are a non-racial, non- sexist democratic country which stood as one when we’re fighting for our democracy; we still stand as one, irrespective of political affiliations, colour, creed and religion, she said.

We call on our government to account, this is enshrined in our Constitution, to always hold our government in check. We are asking our government to listen to our voices, to listen to our cries, when we tell them that we want equal opportunities for our children in terms of education, jobs and benefiting from land.

Earlier this year, the 52-year-old publicly stated that she would never again vote for the ruling African National Congress (ANC). She cited the social grant crisis and Life Esidimeni tragedy as her reasons for having lost faith in the ruling party.

The rally, which was dominated by members of the Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s main opposition party, was also attended by other opposition party leaders, including Mosiuoa Lekota of the Congress of the People (COPE), United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa and the African Christian Democratic Party’s Kenneth Meshoe.

Speaking to journalists after giving his speech, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said there were going to be more events such as Thursday’s rally rolling across the country and there would be a march against Zuma on the day the National Assembly votes on a motion of no confidence against him on a date to be set.

The issues we are facing are not sectarian, they are not divisive, they are for all South Africans. Whether it’s junk status (rating for South Africa’s debt), all of us, the poor South Africans, are going to face difficult days ahead as food prices rise, as the economy faces the prospects of not creating work, these are the issues that speak to all of us.

He said even if Zuma refused to hear the cries at the protests, the fact remained that he was losing his hold on leadership as more and more South Africans stood together and called for him to be removed from office.

But we must not lose track, and all of us as the people of this country must build a government that is capable. That is why I maintain that coalition governments are the way foward . People can work together across the political spectrum, labour and religious sectors, Maimane said.

Maimane said on this day in 1994 people voted for a new government because they were tired with the old one. He said history will repeat itself in the 2019 elections.