Baleka Mbete: There’s a good story to tell about Zuma

2014-01-19 06:00

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There is a “good story to tell” about President Jacob Zuma, ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete said at the party’s well-attended manifesto launch in Nzhelele, Limpopo.

“People say nothing has happened since [Zuma] came in, but it was during his term that we were able to deal with HIV/Aids decisively. The number of people dying from HIV/Aids is much lower in the past five years under President’s Zuma’s administration,” Mbete said.

Yesterday, the provincial launch of the ANC’s election manifesto did not only echo the ruling party’s achievements over two decades, but there were also indications that it may be seeking to address criticism of Zuma by portraying him as a great achiever in the past five years.

Mbete said the ANC was seriously focused on rural development, adding that it was under Zuma that a department was formed to build mechanisms that will enhance development in rural areas.

On Friday, she said at a gala dinner hosted by the Limpopo ANC that Zuma was not guilty of wrongdoing in the Nkandla scandal.

She said Zuma had been “vilified for months”, but had now been cleared by government’s probe into the controversial multimillion-rand security upgrades to his homestead in Nkandla.

Mbete said although there had been theft and fraud in the Nkandla project, Zuma’s fingerprints could not be found anywhere.

“According to reports, we see no sign of any involvement by [Zuma], but there was theft. People ate there [in Nkandla project]. Prices were inflated at Nkandla and we’re told those who did it have since left, but we say as long as they’re South Africans, we’ll get them,” she said.

“The ANC is not a fraudulent organisation and ANC leaders are not thieves. They were able to talk openly about crime and corruption, and if any of our members are guilty of crime and corruption, they will have to step down. We need to set an example in our society.”

Meanwhile, the ANC in Limpopo said court cases against the party by disgruntled members were not going to affect its conference where the province’s new political leadership will be elected at the end of this month.

The provincial conference was postponed in December last year amid factionalism, divisions and unresolved disputes.

This week, the court temporarily barred the Peter Mokaba regional leadership from activity after ANC members who were disgruntled with its election took legal action. Judgment is expected next month.

There were also unconfirmed reports that Luthuli House was preparing to dissolve the regional executive committee.

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