Tornado-like winds interrupt Zuma’s Reconciliation Day speech

President Jacob Zuma was rushed away as he delivered his Reconciliation Day address in the North West. The marquee where Zuma was speaking was swept up by heavy winds, which had some South Africans wryly asking: have the winds of change finally come? 

It happened as Zuma was speaking on the Marikana massacre, and government’s implementation of the Farlam report. The report was released after the Farlam inquiry investigated what transpired during the protests and the police response at Marikana which led to the deaths of 34 striking mineworkers. 

In his speech at Zeerust, Zuma said that reconciliation included “coming to terms” with what happened at Marikana, where a total of 44 people were killed.

“The national day of reconciliation is also about coming to terms with the painful tragedy that occurred in August 2012 in Marikana in this province, where about 44 people were killed, the majority of them by police, during a strike at Lonmin Mine in Rustenburg,” Zuma said. 

The winds had grown stronger and then the marquee seemed to threaten collapse. Zuma was hurriedly removed from the marquee by his bodyguards and the event was cancelled. 

The year has been a turbulent one for Zuma as calls for him to step down have grown louder amid allegations that his relationship with the Gupta family allowed them to influence Cabinet and benefit from state resources. 

Zuma has also been heavily criticised for a perceived ongoing battle between treasury and the Presidency, which has placed increasing pressure on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, creating further strain on the South African economy. 

A few weeks ago, news broke that some members of the ANC’s national executive committee had, in a meeting, proposed that a discussion or vote should take place on whether the president should leave office. 

Zuma has survived the battles that have threatened his removal and, now, he has even survived tornado-like winds. 

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Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

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