Jacob Zuma: What have Mickey Mouse parties done for the poor?

2014-04-09 15:17

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President Jacob Zuma has hit the campaign trail around Durban in a bid to woo undecided voters to make their mark next to his head on the ballot paper on May 7.

At Nigli sports grounds in Nagina, a township between Chatsworth and Mariannhill,

Zuma tore into the media, saying that they used his name and that of the ANC to create controversy and sell newspapers.

“Newspapers are a business ... they use the name of the ANC ... the name of Zuma to get people to [buy newspapers],’’ he told a crowd of about 1 000 people who had turned out to hear him speak.

Zuma told the crowd, mainly youngsters and the elderly, that unlike the opposition, who were simply political parties in the business of getting votes, the ANC was “the organisation of the people”.

Using similar themes as he did in the 2011 local government campaign, Zuma said the ANC had been set up in response to the Union of South Africa and the political exclusion of black people to fight for their rights. This fight, he said, had taken the ANC to 1994 when it “brought your freedom’’.

Since then the ANC had “worked very hard for you’’ – unlike “Mickey Mouse’’ parties, which could only “make noise’’ and had never governed anything or anyone.

A vote for the opposition would result in “honourable members’’ who spoke a lot in Parliament but who had not done any work to uplift the poor. It would not improve anybody’s lives, he said.

Zuma, wearing a leather jacket in ANC colours despite the sweltering heat, had earlier worked the Mpumalanga area on the western boundary of the eThekwini metro, doing house-to-house visits with a massive entourage of ANC leaders, police and security officials.

He was accompanied by provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala and chairperson Senzo Mchunu, among other KwaZulu-Natal leaders.

He met the family of Rodgers Dinga Sishi, the Mpumalanga business leader and football administrator who moved to the governing party after participating in the then IFP-run KwaZulu Bantustan and acted as mayor of the township.

Sishi eventually became a senior ANC leader at Mpumalanga, the site of fierce political violence between the ANC and its allies and the IFP in the 1980s and 1990s.

He asked about their education.

Zuma also visited several of Sishi’s neighbours, taking time to chat with them about their lives and their issues before moving on to the next house.

There was a massive scrum of security officials and photographers as Zuma moved from house to house, while several hundred residents turned out to greet him.

Zuma, who was in the city on Sunday for the launch of the massive 28 000-unit Cornubia state housing complex, also visited residents and shopkeepers at the local Mpumalanga mall.

His deployment in the minority areas is part of an ANC drive to try to consolidate on gains made in former Minority Front and DA-supporting Indian wards during recent by-elections.

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