I'm a worker before anything else - Zuma
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma said he was a worker above anything else, in his address at the opening of the Numsa National Political Commission in Johannesburg on Thursday.
"No matter what you do with me, I remain a worker," said Zuma.
He said he owed everything that he was to unions.
"Until the end of time at the centre of me will be the working class feelings," he told delegates.
The relationship between the African National Congress, of which he is also president, and workers is significant, he said.
"The working class must influence the ANC from within. It is very crucial."
There were working class movements that called themselves unionism, but were not, Zuma said.
The relationship between the ANC and workers had been discussed for a long time.
"We as workers in South Africa succeeded to make the ANC a progressive organisation, a revolutionary organisation."
The ANC had also worked closely with unions in the struggle against apartheid.
Some of the movement's best leaders were leaders of both the ANC and the SA Communist Party.
Delegates listened closely, with an occasional smattering of applause as Zuma traced the history of the relationship between workers and the ANC.