Zuma supporters hijack government event

 “He is the president of ANC and the country, there’s nothing wrong with showing support for him,” said one supporter who refused to be named. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

“He is the president of ANC and the country, there’s nothing wrong with showing support for him,” said one supporter who refused to be named. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The African National Congress (ANC) in Mpumalanga hijacked a government event to show their “undying” support for President Jacob Zuma, as Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti was handing over financial compensation to communities of various land claims in the Kruger National Park.

ANC Supporters, who confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that they belong to various branches in Mpumalanga, held out a huge banner, with the words “Hands off” and a picture of Zuma. “He is the president of ANC and the country, there’s nothing wrong with showing support for him,” said one supporter who refused to be named.

Thousands of people in attendance, who were transported to the event with at least 100 buses, were handed ANC T-shirts with the face of Jacob Zuma. “We are supporting Zuma during a government event, because it is in government where he’s troubled and not within the ANC,” said another supporter.

The event, which could have been confused for an ANC rally, was celebrating the first phase of the land claims financial compensation for six communities from Limpopo and Mpumalanga, who were forcibly removed from parts of the land that makes up the Kruger National Park.

The six communities who put a claim for about 318 000 hectares of the park received a total of R84-million, with each household allocated just over R110 000. The second phase will be a “beneficiation scheme” where developmental projects will be implemented within the communities.

President Jacob Zuma acknowledged the supporters chanting his name whilst displaying the banner, before moving on with the business of the day. He admitted that in the past land claims didn’t necessarily benefit the affected communities, and that there was never a clear plan on how the claimants were going to benefit. “The land claim process here (Kruger National Park) is historic because it’s not only about giving the community money,” said Zuma.

Mpumalanga is one of the ANC’s strongholds, which has backed the president despite the Constitutional Court finding that he failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution as the supreme law of the country.

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