Zuma dogmatises in Nkandla

2012-12-30 10:00

President Jacob Zuma defended his comments on dog ownership on Friday, saying human beings should be loved more than animals.

Zuma spoke to thousands of residents of his Nxamalala village, who flocked to the annual pensioners’ party organised by the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust.

Addressing a Christmas party for senior citizens at the uMnyakanya High School’s sports ground, Zuma repeated his comments of earlier this week.

Speaking in isiZulu, Zuma said that while Africans loved animals, they loved human beings more.

“We grew up hunting with animals. We kept dogs as pets that we loved. But we made sure we kept love for those who needed it most – other human beings,” Zuma said.

The president told the several thousand participants, most of them senior citizens, that there were no old age homes in African communities because people cared for the elderly.

“We do not have a culture where we put our old people in homes. We keep them close to us, in our communities, because we love and respect them. They are a source of wisdom. They brought us up. They educated us and raised us.

“I would not be the person I am today were it not for the old ladies who brought me up with my mother. That is the truth,” Zuma said.

He called on communities to protect the elderly and the very young, both of whom were the victims of abuse.

“We cannot have a situation where old ladies are being sexually assaulted by youngsters in rural areas and elsewhere. It hurts to see young children who are homeless being chased like animals and abused. We need to unite as communities and protect them,” he said.

Elderly people from nine tribal areas under Nxamalala were treated to a tasty lunch, food hampers and gifts by the trust.

The event, co-funded by the Gift of the Givers, the Jacob Zuma Foundation, local and national businesses, is part of a series of celebrations held in the area by the president and his supporters during the festive season.

A similar party for children from the community will be held today.

There has also been an annual chess tournament and a football tournament sponsored by BEE mining giant Patrice Motsepe.

A relaxed Zuma, wearing black slacks and a long-sleeved white shirt, has been organising the community celebrations since before he became president.

Clearly at home with the thousands of members of his clan and others living in the area, Zuma spoke exclusively in isiZulu, ­asking members of the audience to translate for non-Zulu speakers so they could “walk with us”.

Zuma was accompanied by ­Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, ­Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and her provincial counterpart, Weziwe Thusi.

Zuma encouraged residents to get involved in the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative, which he chairs.

The programme is now backed by government and involves communities working as collective farmers and selling surplus produce.

It has come under heavy fire for being the recipient of millions of rands in Rural Development funding, allegedly at the expense of other rural development projects outside Zuma’s own hometown.

He said people had become lazy to farm when they could both feed themselves and earn a living doing so.

Instead, they were putting ­undue pressure on elderly people receiving grants.

“People need to get involved in these projects. They can grow the most amazing things to feed their families. By working together, they can also grow more produce and sell to make a living. People can do this for themselves with the help we can get them,” he said.

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