'Hands off Zuma, we want another term', say ANC supporters
8 January 2017
Johannesburg - Some members of the ruling party who came out in their numbers to celebrate the ANC’s 105th year anniversary say they want all the attacks on Zuma to stop. They also want him to run for another term.
Lennox Ntsoto from Hermanus in the Western Cape was wearing a t-shirt with the words "Hands off mkhul’uZuma The Liberator" written on it. He and three women were also holding up a poster with the words "Zuma until '19" printed on it.
Speaking after Zuma had addressed the party faithful in Orlando, Soweto, Nsoto said those attacking Zuma were only making him stronger.
"We are here to support the president and to say that we are 100% behind him. All these attacks on him are meant to make him strong. He is our president...we are the ones who voted for him, so we don’t care what the EFF says, what the DA says.
"We see a president who is focused on the country, who is more vibrant than former president Thabo Mbeki."
The 29-year-old said compared to his predecessor, Zuma was a more down-to-earth leader who genuinely cared for his people.
"Zuma has done a lot for his people. Thabo Mbeki, I don’t see what he did. Zuma is the one who followed in Nelson Mandela's [footsteps].
"Zuma is a president who stands for his people and always thinks for his people. So whatever the opposition says, we are here to say 'Hands off umkhulu Zuma' and we will support him until 2019."
Ntsoto said if Zuma did not opt to run for a third term, he would be throwing his weight behind his ex-wife and outgoing African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as she was the best candidate for the job.
"Come December, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will be the incoming president and she will lead us." Loving person
Ntombenhle Zuma, a resident from Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, had also braved the wet and cold weather to attend the celebrations. Although she was no relation to Zuma, she said she and others back home had a deep love and appreciation for him and all he had done for his people.
"The people in Nkandla are very happy with our president; they want him to carry on until 2019. They love that the president is always supporting the people in Nkandla and KZN."
She said Zuma always made an effort through lunches and annual activities, every December, to make Nkandla residents both young and old feel special. She loved this about him.
"That is why I love my president, Jacob Zuma. We love him. Our president is a loving person who is working for South Africa. He went into exile to fight for our people."
The 42-year-old said rumours of his corrupt behaviour were false and malicious.
However, she said a lot of work needed to be done in Nkandla to help alleviate problems, especially youth unemployment.
"One thing that the ANC can do in Nkandla is... provide more opportunities for education and jobs. There are a lot of young people in Nkandla who are not working."
She said having a big mall, more schools, a college and hospital in the area could help deal with some of the residents' basic problems.
Another staunch Zuma supporter who wanted to see the 74-year-old lead for another term was Sibusiso Siziba who had travelled from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga to hear Zuma speak.
The 36-year-old said life in his home village of Mkhonto was not easy and he was hoping the ruling party would try to improve their living conditions and opportunities for both school and work.
"We would like the president to help us out. We don't have a college and the closest one is in Ermelo which is about 100km from where we live, so the children struggle.
"If they can just build one in the area where we live in Piet Retief, it would be really great."
Siziba said work opportunities in the area were scarce and when they did pop up, they were usually short-term contracts which last six months at the most.
Despite this, Siziba said he was satisfied with Zuma's leadership and would have loved to see him continue leading the ruling party, if he could.
"We would like to see Nxamalala continue, but if the NEC decides to choose someone else then we will support whoever they decide on.
"But we love Nxamalala... [He] is an honest man. We have seen some changes since he came and it's just that things won't change for all of us at the same time. We must be patient...things will change," he said.
This article first appeared on News24, see here.