Zuma denies wishing to lead

By Drum Digital
23 July 2012

President Jacob Zuma has denied ever wishing to lead the African National Congress or the country, and said he did so only at the behest of his party.

"I never had an appetite [to rule]...once the ANC says 'serve' I cannot be reluctant," he said in an interview broadcast on Talk Radio 702 and its sister station 567 CapeTalk on Monday.

Zuma was responding to an assertion by show host Redi Tlhabi that he had an "appetite" to rule.

Zuma has led the ANC for five years and the country for three years.

He said that if the ANC told him it no longer wanted him to serve as party leader, he would step aside.

"If the ANC says don't serve today, I will walk away."

Zuma declined to comment on criticism of his polygamous lifestyle by ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Asked if his personal lifestyle or choices had impeded his presidency, he said: "I don't think so."

Zuma fathered a child out of wedlock with Sonono Khoza, the daughter of his close friend, soccer boss Irvin Khoza.

He said on Monday: "I don't think it is wise to try and discuss personal things unless those things impact on what you do."

Zuma would not rate himself as a leader, merely saying: "All I can say is I have tried my best."

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