Zuma blasts SA's 'anarchists' as critics march

President Jacob Zuma delivered his Freedom Day address at Giyani Stadium. (ANA)

President Jacob Zuma delivered his Freedom Day address at Giyani Stadium. (ANA)

President Jacob Zuma has accused political parties of abusing their political rights, saying they were creating divisions among South Africans.

During his Freedom Day address at Giyani Stadium, Zuma told thousands of people that politicians were dividing communities for their own gains.

“There are people who are abusing their political rights. Politics is not meant as an instrument to divide people, and they must be exposed,” Zuma said.

Zuma recalled how 22 years ago South Africans from all walks of life voted in the country’s first democratic elections, and reminded people that the country’s hard-won freedom had come at a cost.

“Millions of our people suffered through institutionalised racism and were dehumanised in various ways,” he said.

Many people, he recalled, were “brutally murdered, imprisoned or tortured”. The year 1994, he said, “not only marked the end of the tyranny of apartheid, it also symbolised the triumph of good over evil”.

The African National Congress government, he said, was committed to undoing apartheid’s “legacy of exclusion and neglect” and had worked since 1994 to ensure that rural communities had access to basic services.

Giyani, he said, was declared a disaster zone in 2009 and had been brought into the Presidential Siyahlola Programme to resuscitate the area’s water supply.

He noted that all 55 villages in Giyani had access to bulk water supply and the construction of a 35 megalitre reservoir was scheduled for completion in June 2017.

Zuma said more work was being done to ensure adequate water supply in the province through the Mogalakwena bulk water supply projects within the Waterberg District Municipality that would be implemented in the current financial year.

Zuma called on South Africans to use water wisely given the country’s persistent drought.
“We must continue to save water. We have no choice, the situation is serious and is affecting both households and our farming communities who are supposed to ensure food security in our country.”

Zuma appealed to communities to protest peacefully and to vote in the August local government elections. He warned that those who promoted violence and anarchy would be isolated.

Many people he said, had worked hard to build South Africa. “It must not be destroyed by anarchists who have no interest in our well being.”

As the Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa ushered the president off the stage, he issued a warning to ANC government critics that Zuma would not be removed before the end of his term.

Mthethwa said: “The people today who want to take shortcuts and make a motion of no confidence will not succeed as we are going to take this country forward.”

Taking aim at SA’s critics
Zuma also took aim at critics whom he said were ignoring the progress the country had made and called for them to ignored.

“As a country, comparatively speaking, we are doing very well, we are trying to solve all the problems that were not created by us, but by the oppressor apartheid and colonialism,” said Zuma.

“People speak today as if we created today’s problem. No. We are solving current problems that were created by colonialism and the apartheid government.”

He appealed to supporters not to be deceived by detractors.

“Let us not allow those who decide to ignore the achievements to make us think that we are a failure.”

“We know where we are going as country, but nothing can be done on a single day,” he said, resorting to the analysis of a child who did not grow up overnight.

“South Africa is just 22 years (old).

“And it is against science to give birth in the morning and then expect to see a grown man in the afternoon,” he said. “South Africa is just 22 years into democracy … imagine if it was a human being, one would still have to help that person grow.”

A few hundred Capetonians took to the streets of the Mother City on Wednesday, meanwhile, to call on Zuma to “do the right thing and step aside”.

The march, organised under the #ZumaMustFall banner, was supported by various church groups from the greater Cape Town area and took on a mostly religious tone. “Zuma must fall; Jesus must rise,” some of the protestors shouted while a gospel band led others in song.

Similar protests were planned in all of South Africa’s major cities. However, the protests ultimately failed to gather anywhere near the amount of participants of the #ZumaMustFall protests on Reconciliation Day last year. – African News Agency

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