POLITICS

Zuma: I Can’t Correct My Mistakes If No One Tells Me What I Did Wrong

The president says people say "there is a crisis".

15/05/2017 07:49 SAST | Updated 15/05/2017 07:49 SAST
Rajesh Jantilal / Getty Images

President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday that he cannot fix any of the mistakes he has made if people don't tell him what it is he has done wrong.

"[People say] 'there is a problem in our country,' as they say 'there is a crisis'. Why? What has happened?" Zuma asked congregants at a service of the Abundant Life Church at the People's Stadium in Durban.

"... We always hear [people] ... talk about Zuma. No one has come out to say 'Zuma has done this and that'. Other than that Zuma has a movement.

"The day the movement feels Zuma is no longer a good leader, is the one ... [where they say] 'so we think this [his removal]... should happen'.

"Sometimes we get confused because [the] people who voted against the ANC have never changed - they are the ones ... today who are saying that [Zuma must be removed]," the president said in isiZulu.

"If I am not told what I have done wrong, I cannot correct my mistakes because I don't know what I have done wrong."

He said it was surprising that there were a number of members of the ANC that spoke against the party, but did not criticise it through the proper structures.

He said some of them were very angry, but could not tell you what was wrong.

He praised the church's pastor "for taking a decision to stand for the truth," saying the churches must not mix the message of God with political views because that will confuse people.

"It is like [some] people -- they start from the morning until sunset saying 'this [person] is a dog, this one has stolen', but they cannot even show a cent that you have stolen," Zuma said to loud cheers.

'Pray for this poor man'

He also warned congregants not to believe lies and ask themselves why every time, leading to the elective conference, the current president "who is not going to stand for election because he has finished," is being attacked like this.

He also took a jab at former presidents who shared a stage with a "white" leader, who he said was an oppressor and murderer.

He also questioned why alliance partners were so courageous when attacking the movement in public and did not have time talk about their issues.

Zuma earlier attended another church service to welcome former African Union commission chair and one of the front runners to take over from him as party leader Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in her home in Bulwer.

eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, at the later service with Zuma, warned alliance partners, Cosatu, SACP and Sanco to focus on their own problems.

"Cosatu must discuss its issues of workers. Amabomvu (SACP) must discuss their issues of Amabomvu. Sanco must focus on the community, the wellbeing of people, and not divide people," Gumede said to loud cheers.

"With those words I am saying today we have come to pray, to pray for this poor man. He is also a human being... what has he done?"

Radical transformation

Cosatu and Sanco have pronounced on their support for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from Zuma.

Her words were echoed by KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala.

Zikalala said that in 1994 the country only got political freedom, and not economic freedom.

He said Zuma was at the forefront in the fight for radical economic freedom and that was why capitalists were so angry and were attacking the ANC and its president.

He said some were bitter because they not were elected in previous ANC elective conferences, and that was why they had since formed their own political parties and are now working with monopoly capitalists.

He said he supported the call that was earlier made by eThekwini ANC regional secretary Bheki Ntuli who said they would support Dlamini-Zuma as the party's next president at the elective conference to be held in December.

"As the biggest region in Durban we have decided that in this conference to be held in December who we are going to vote for. As the ANC eThekwini region we will fight because we have seen uMama Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that she can lead us."

Zikalala said: "I heard what iTheku [the region] has said. I heard it and it's clear."

He said that as ANC they would not interfere with the leadership of the alliance and that they would never retreat in the fight for radical economic transformation.

"The president has a right to change the Cabinet. I have never heard of any country where the president must account for changing his Cabinet. If he [does] account, he accounts to the ANC, which he did," Zikalala said in reference to the Zuma's controversial move in March, axing Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, among other ministers.

"People who are marching [against the president] are those who have never voted for the president."

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