The SACP wants public to play the ball, not the man

2012-11-13 00:00

IF THE SACP in KwaZulu-Natal had its way, it would enact a law to protect President Jacob Zuma’s dignity. It would also bar public servants from doing business with the government.

SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu told a media briefing in Durban yesterday that the party’s call for a law protecting the president’s dignity was motivated by insults levelled against Zuma. This included, among other things, the Spear painting in which the president’s genitals were exposed. “It is to try to prevent those criticisms that are an insult. We don’t have a problem with (just) any criticism, but (with) those we see as an insult to the office of the president,” he said

Mthembu said the proposed legislation would not prevent the public from criticising the top office.

“They can criticise the office of the president as much they can, as long they don’t insult and undermine the head of state.

“Some respect needs to be given to that person because he is head of state. Whether it is Zuma or one day Helen Zille, we strongly believe that such an office needs to be protected so that not everyone wakes up in the morning and says anything they want insulting the office of the president.”

Mthembu added the SACP condemned reports that 70% of public servants were doing business with the government.

“We support the proposals of the Public Service Commission and will embark on a campaign to force the government to promulgate an act which will make it illegal for state employees to do business with the government,” he said.

Mthembu also announced that the SACP would hold a march in support of rural development at Nkandla at the weekend.

However, he defended the multi-million rand upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, saying they were not done as a favour to the president.

Mthembu said the Nkandla development had attracted criticism because Zuma had chosen to live there rather than to move elsewhere.

“Some people don’t believe that such a house needs to be built in Nkandla. [In their opinion] it needs to be built in Constantia, it needs to be built in Hermanus, Ballito or Zimbali.” However, Mthembu said the prices charged for construction work at Zuma’s home were of concern to the SACP.

He welcomed the proposed investigation of the contract by the auditor general.

Mthembu added that last week’s tabling of a vote of no-confidence against Zuma by eight opposition parties in the National Assembly, was designed to boost the ANC faction opposed to Zuma’s re-election as party president.

• mayibongwe.maqhina@witness.co.za

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