As the crowd mounted the space to press home their demands, emotions went awol.

Having failed to implement Nelson Mandela’s vision, President Jacob Zuma must step down, the late president’s assistant Zelda La Grange, said at a freedom movement rally in Pretoria on Thursday.

“We want…a president that respects himself enough to step down when his people asked him to,” said La Grange at a gathering of various opposition political parties, as well as civil society and religious organisations at Caledonian stadium.

“We want to say: ‘Mr President this is what we want…please do the dignified thing and listen to your people,” she said in calling for Zuma to leave office.

La Grange evoked the legacy of her former employer – one she described as being of respect, ethics and solidarity – suggesting Zuma had failed to live up to his predecessor’s example.

“Mr President, listen to us: follow the plan that Madiba and his people put together in 1994.”

La Grange led the crowd in a number of chants including: “Not in my name” and “claim back our power”.