The firing of the minister and deputy minister of finance and the inevitable ratings downgrades to junk status have resulted in a strange response from some in civil society. The view is that the marches to protest against President Jacob Zuma are pointless; that they will have no effect on the ANC in general, or Zuma in particular. Much the same is said about the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly. People point to the fact that these votes have not succeeded in the past and this one won’t succeed either. Generally the view is that only the ballot box can really result in change. The ballot box is the definitive point at which the populace can ensure change. But people cannot sit on their hands waiting until they’re allowed to vote. They will do things that are aimed at persuading other people to vote in a certain way when they finally get to vote. One of those actions, and by no stretch the only one, is marching in protest. Notwithstanding the tendency to condescension in ...

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