South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday toured Soweto with his African National Congress (ANC) entourage to thank the people for putting the party into power and to formally open Alexandra’s Pan African Mall.
Accompanied by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyana, ANC Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile and Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo, Zuma made his way to Grace Bible church on Sunday morning, where he was welcomed by a congregation of about 2Â 000 people.
He later took a tour around Soweto’s mega-shopping centre Maponya Mall, where he had lunch with Richard Maponya.
”We are here to thank you for your prayers, the ANC won the elections because of your prayers,” Zuma told the church congregation.
He told the crowd at Maponya Mall that work was about to start in government. ”We don’t want to work with lazy people, we want to create a culture of feedback, where we come back to you and tell you what we are up to and you can tell us where we are going wrong.”
Zuma said his was a government for all South Africans, not only for those who had voted for the ANC. ”When we look at our Cabinet we see South Africa. It underscores our vision of a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white, young and old, urban and rural.”
He said a new ethos and culture was forming in government. Public representatives would be held accountable and had to be visible to their constituencies.
”We cannot afford to have a government that we see only every five years when they come to ask for your votes,” Zuma said.
”We intend to live up to the commitments we made during the election campaign. We plan to ensure that we accelerate the pace of service delivery for all the communities who have been affected by slow service delivery in the past.”
Zuma thanked the people for their support during the elections. He said Soweto was ”one of the most visible symbols and sites of our struggle for freedom”.
Opening the new Pan African Mall, he told the people of Alexandra that he is proud of them for having achieved the goal of having their own mall.
”It is important to create employment in ‘ekasi‘ [slang for township],” Zuma told hundreds of residents of the Johannesburg township outside the new mall, which was developed as part of the Alexandra Renewal Project.
There were loud cheers and screams from the crowd as Zuma officially declared the mall open.
Gauteng’s Mokonyane, who accompanied the president, thanked the Alexandra Taxi Association and local residents for participating in and cooperating with the development.
The centre was touted as a ”first world shopping environment” along the lines of other shopping malls in the country.