Don't be misled by media, Zuma tells ANC

African National Congress (ANC) members should not be misled into believing that the media would assist and find solutions for the many challenges facing the organisation, party deputy president Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the South African Youth Congress celebration in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Zuma said the media’s only objective was to sensationalise ANC problems.

“Their job is to sensationalise the ANC’s challenges so that they can sell more newspapers and make profit,” he said.

Despite having made incorrect predictions about the ANC in the past, the media had failed to acknowledge its mistakes.

“A few weeks ago they predicted that there would be a war at the ANC policy conference. However, when this did not materialise, they did not apologise,” he said.

Zuma, who is currently suing media owners, publishers, editors, reporters, cartoonists and newspapers over reports during his rape trial, said certain media tendencies had the potential to create disunity within the ANC.

“We have to defend our organisation and should not believe everything that we read in newspapers,” he said.

The former South African deputy president, whose media onslaught elicited wild applause from more than 2 000 young people who had attended the event, was in his usually buoyant mood.

Occasionally breaking into liberation songs that had been adapted to suite the current political climate, including his favourite, Umshini Wami, the man whom some believe should succeed Mbeki sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Security guards had to erect a rope to prevent the ecstatic crowd from advancing too close to the podium.

Singing Zuma’s praises, the crowd accused Mbeki of dismissing the ANC deputy for no good reason.

“We told Mbeki that Zuma was innocent,” they sang in Xhosa.

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) President Fikile Mbalula told the gathering that Zuma was a leader with a “track record”.

“Zuma is a tried and tested leader with a track record; he is not an accident of our history,” he said.

Despite the fact that the event was meant to honour the ANC youth who have played a leading role in the struggle for liberation, almost all the ANC Western Cape Provincial heavyweights serving in the provincial government did not attend the Khayelitsha event, fuelling speculation about deep divisions within the party characterised by the Zuma camp on one hand and the Mbeki camp on the other.

Provincial ANC chairperson James Ngculu was also conspicuous by his absence, almost confirming rumours that he has now joined the Mbeki camp that includes Premier Ebrahim Rasool, who was also not present at the Khayelitsha event.—Sapa

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