NEWS

Zuma Says Booing A Sign Of Democracy

The president says he wishes he was a journalist so he could educate people on how democracy works.

04/05/2017 10:05 SAST | Updated 04/05/2017 10:05 SAST
Rogan Ward / Reuters
South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to journalists after a tour of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa, May 3, 2017.

President Jacob Zuma wishes he was a journalist or columnist so that he could "educate" people on how democracy works. This is after he was questioned about being booed at a Cosatu event on Monday by a journalist, while at the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week.

Zuma is leading a delegation of 17 ministers and deputy ministers at the forum.

According to The Times on Thursday, Zuma said that the booing reflected that South Africa was a democracy with a president that people could talk to. He said people needed to be educated on how democracy worked.

"The problem is that people have not understood how democracy works," Zuma said, according to the paper.

"You will agree with me that in the countries of dictators there is no protest, there is no booing. Protest, debates, booing is part of the culture of democracy. Unfortunately, people misunderstand that and misread it ...

"That's the culture of democracy. If I was one of you, I would write a column to educate people about democracy and say how South Africa is democratic.

"In a country where there is no democracy there will be an angry president charging the police to arrest people, but democracy says let the people express themselves.

That's why, in a democracy, governments are in place democratically and can be removed democratically with the vote.

"I don't know what is it that makes people excited. Perhaps it's newsworthy stuff, fine, but that is the culture of democracy. I'm very happy that South Africa is very matured and you have a president that they can talk to, whatever is on their minds.

"They are not going to be arrested and they are not going to be harassed. That is democracy. I wish I was a journalist and a columnist. I would educate people," Zuma reportedly said.

Meanwhile, ANC leader Lindiwe Sisulu has said that the booing of Zuma was not normal. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, she reportedly said, "Whatever it is, it just wasn't good".

Sisulu is thought to be one of the candidates vying for the ANC presidency at the party's electoral conference in December.

"I think I would like to see an ANC that is able to express itself without taking away the dignity of anybody. I believe it could have been better done‚" she reportedly said, according to Business Day on Wednesday.