Zuma prepares for ‘war elections’

The African National Congress had begun its campaign to win the 2009 elections to ensure South Africa remained ”in good, caring hands”, ANC president Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

Elections were critical aspect in the life of a democracy, Zuma told several thousand ANC cadres at the Pretoria showgrounds.

”We’re here to prepare ourselves, to prove many critics wrong who have a lot to say whether the ANC will win, will increase [their] percentage,” Zuma told the assembly, which included Tshwane Mayor Gwen Ramokgopa.

He said elections gave political parties an opportunity to go back to the masses and consult with them, after which they would then ask the people to vote for them. He said this also afforded South Africans the opportunity to make their own choices.

”Elections … it’s a matter of convincing people, to come to them, it is a crucial point in the life of a democratic society. Elections are very important. After elections you know where you stand.

”Power and authority in the hands of people is crucial for the life of a democracy,” he said.

He called on the party to work harder in order to move forward.

”We need to gather our forces … the ANC, as the leader of the alliance, has to be more organised,” he said, stressing that the alliance also needed to be ”totally united”.

He said problems within the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) needed to be addressed, adding that he thought they could be resolved quickly.

”We can’t go to elections with the state of Sanco. We are preparing for war elections, we need Sanco here,” he said.

Discipline within the party was important, Zuma said, as well as reflecting on the past.

Referring to the United Democratic Front, he said:”I’m not saying we should revive it, but reflect [on it].”

Zuma said he believed the ANC was different from other parties in that it was a governing party and had opposition parties who criticised it.

”The ANC is the main factor in this country, in politics, in economics,” he told the group.

”When you go to elections … it is not the time to be critical of yourself. Criticism must be reduced, if not put aside,” he said.

”We must increase our percentage, we have culture of increasing our percentage,” said Zuma, who wore a shirt adorned with an ANC logo and dark trousers.

Judge Chris Nicholson found on Friday that the Scorpions’ decision to prosecute Zuma on fraud and corruption charges was not legal.

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