17/04/2017 12:17 SAST | Updated 17/04/2017 13:44 SAST

The Time Of Poverty Among Blacks Must Come To An End, Says Zuma

"Our people must be able to control and enjoy the economy and be part of how decisions are taken."

James Oatway / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma addresses crowds gathered to celebrate his 75th birthday in Kliptown, Johannesburg.

President Jacob Zuma received a warm welcome when he arrived at the Twelve Apostles' Church in Christ south of Durban nearly six hours late on Sunday.

Zuma was due to speak at 9am but postponed the event to 1pm and then only arrived at 3pm.

Addressing congregants of the church on Easter Sunday, Zuma said he didn't want to talk politics, but he said people wanted him to step down because he's "telling the truth."

He added that he won't just walk away if the masses haven't spoken.

It was a similar message to the one he delivered at his 75th birthday celebrations in Kliptown last week.

Speaking through a translator, Zuma spoke about land and the visible scars of apartheid and said that the country is in turmoil. ''Let the land of the people go back to the people because that is the reason for poverty. We are saying that the economic power should be shifted to the people so everyone can enjoy it‚" Zuma said.

He said the economy was still not in the hands of the majority of the people in South Africa.

"That stone that has been sitting on people economically must be rolled away ... our people must be able to control and enjoy the economy and be part of how decisions are taken."

Zuma asked congregants to pray for the country, saying: ''In our country respect and dignity have declined and we ask you to pray so that all can be restored."

He reiterated calls for land to be returned to the people of South Africa.

Addressing the anti-Zuma marchers who have been protesting over the last two weeks following his midnight Cabinet reshuffle and two international ratings downgrades to junk status, he said: "The people who were at these marches, they are the type of people who have never marched before."

He said the country was in turmoil because it was so damaged and that all the problems could not be fixed in 20 years.

"The time of poverty among blacks must come to an end. Even if they remove the president who says this‚ the next one will do the same," he said