It is clearer now that President Jacob Zuma has never been ignorant of the criticisms being hurled at him by South Africans. It is also glaring that he is not ignorant of the sustained clamour for him to step down from power.
However, Zuma seemed to have contradicted himself while delivering a keynote address on Freedom Day. According to him, SA leaders should humble themselves when the people no longer want them to be in charge.
He said, “What is important is that we should humble ourselves. If you were elected at one point and people no longer want you, humble yourself. Accept it so that change will come if people believe we need change now,” Zuma told thousands of people gathered at the Giyani Stadium in Limpopo on Wednesday.
The embattled president however admitted that South Africa is facing “several challenges” and attributed the challenges to a “new democracy and a developing country”.
SA Leaders Must Be Removed Democratically
Moving on, President Zuma made it clear to the mammoth crowd that due process must be followed in removing democratically elected SA leaders. “But they can’t take shortcuts. We must exercise the democratic institutions so that we can have a peaceful democratic state wherein the will of the majority prevails.”
The president failed to mention names of the SA leaders who are being rejected by the people but went on to say democratic institutions had to be respected at all times. He also slammed leaders who “abused their political rights to advance their own visions” and encouraged South Africans to to go out and vote in the upcoming local government elections.
“Our citizens’ faith in our Constitution [and] democracy has never been stronger. We have deepening our understanding of democracy with time. Local government is everybody’s business because it is where the majority of us live.
That is where we feel government. That is why those who have been elected should be clear that they are there for the people and not for themselves,” Zuma said.
The president was heartily received in Limpopo where so many of his fans turned up, cheering and praising him. Some of them were seen wearing t-shirts bearing his face. Others were busy chanting “preach my president”, and “we love you” while he delivered his keynote address.
He concluded his day by walking around the stadium with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa waving at the crowd amid cheers.
Meanwhile, it was a different ball game in Joburg, as ANC’s Denis Goldberg called on the masses to guard Chapter 9 institutions, including SA’s Public Protector, Madonsela Thuli. He noted that all has been well with so many institutions in the country and also urged the ruling party to fortify its moral strength for people to have confidence in it.