Let others talk even if you don't agree, Zuma tells supporters

2013-11-04 17:03

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President Jacob Zuma has told supporters to give other political parties a chance to speak even if they do not like what is being said, the ANC has said.

"President Jacob Zuma said that we are a democracy and that there should be tolerance," African National Congress spokesman Keith Khoza said today.

"He said even if you do not agree, you should allow them to talk."

Earlier in the day, the Sowetan reported that Zuma had told ANC members to give other political parties a chance to "talk their nonsense".

He was delivering his annual National Council of Provinces address in Soshanguve, Pretoria.

"Allow a person to speak 'azibhedele nje (to talk nonsense)'. If you don't do that, you create a situation for someone to feel important. Leave them," Zuma said on Friday, according to the report.

"The essence of democracy is that people are free to speak. We must be tolerant even if we don't agree with what they say."

Khoza said Zuma was speaking about the incident where Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille was booed.

"Zuma said even if what they are saying does not make sense, you should allow them to speak."

On Thursday, a group of ANC supporters prevented Zille from speaking at the launch of the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone, her spokesman Zak Mbhele said.

Zille was supposed to have delivered the welcome address at the launch followed by Zuma, who did not intervene.

"The crowd, which had been disruptive since the beginning, were dressed in ANC T-shirts. Some were bussed in [for the event]," said Mbhele.

He said the crowd became noisy when Zille took to the podium.

"It was the intention from the start to turn this event into an ANC party political rally," Mbhele said at the time.

"She [Zille] said this was a serious abuse of state resources. It is corrupt to use state resources for a party political rally."

He said Zille had called Zuma on Wednesday night to warn him that this was going to happen.

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