People crowded around President Jacob Zuma on Monday during a walkabout in Marabastad‚ west of Pretoria. While Zuma was shaking hands with commuters in one of the taxis‚ an angry taxi owner couldn’t hold back his disapproval any more as he shouted at the mechanic who had left a minibus taxi he was fixing to take pictures of Zuma‚ saying:
“Hey‚ Zuma is going to eat fancy food when he leaves here and you will still be eating chicken feet and pap. If you do not come and finish up here‚ you will not even have money to buy that.”
Though not everybody was excited about his presence as some of the people present continued with their daily businesses, the president still used the opportunity to encouraged people to listen to his upcoming state of the nation address (SONA).
When Zuma entered the Belle Ombre taxi rank, there was competition among the crowd as people struggled to to shake his hand amidst chants of his clan name “Nxamalala”.
While some were excited to see Mr president in their midst, some others said they could not wait for him to leave the taxi rank because his presence was causing a commotion and that his visit would not change the course of their lives.
Taxi driver John Chiloane‚ from Hammanskraal‚ said “I have no time for nonsense.”
He specified that there was nothing exciting about Mr Zuma’s presence‚ he observed that even those who crowded around him did so not because they liked him‚ but because they just wanted to catch a glimpse of an “infamous leader” and take his pictures.
He lamented and said “I am 45‚ I am forced to drive a taxi because there are no jobs. Only the ruling elite are enjoying the fruits of freedom. The country is sliding deeper into trouble each day he is in power. Should I be excited that he is here? No”
A 23-year-old street hawker Jozini Ndala‚ saidf Zuma’s is a constant reminder of the lifeless bodies of 34 Marikana miners‚ millions of taxpayers’ money spent on his private Nkandla home‚ the crumbling economy‚ joblessness and high levels of crime present in the country.
“Why then must I be happy to see such a leader?” he asked.
Zuma gathered information from the people during the walkabout most of which bothered on the challenges they face in their daily activities and promised to talk about them during the SONA. But most of the people say they are tired of hearing him talk about their problems. They would rather have him do something about them.