Zuma: Singing about leaders fine

2012-06-26 21:25
The ANC has never stopped its members from singing songs about its leaders, President Jacob Zuma says. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

The ANC has never stopped its members from singing songs about its leaders, President Jacob Zuma says. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The ANC has never stopped its members from singing songs about its leaders, President Jacob Zuma, who is also the party's leader, said on Tuesday.

"The ANC said 'let us not discuss leadership'. It's different from singing about leaders," Zuma told reporters at Gallagher Estate where the ANC is holding its national policy conference over four days.

"Historically the ANC has never stopped people from singing about leaders."

Zuma was reacting to a question about how he felt when delegates at the event sang in support of him, when the party had warned members not to discuss succession.

At the start of the conference earlier on Tuesday delegates from the North West sang: "We'll take Zuma to Mangaung... There is no problem."

ANC members from KwaZulu-Natal belted out: "Those who burn t-shirts with Zuma's face on will be shot."

Other delegates sang to the national executive members sitting on the stage: "It is Zuma, they have never seen him, they don't know him."

"Ha a yo mathatha Zuma a le teng" (There are no problems when Zuma is around), sang others.

Zuma said the president was the face of the party.

"When you are singing about leaders you are not campaigning. It is not an issue about elections."

Zuma said the ANC had sung about figures such as former ANC presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Oliver Tambo, sometimes even before they became party leader.

"We sing about officials with a track record."

The ANC will elect new leaders at its Mangaung conference in December. The party's top officials have warned its members not to nominate their preferred leaders before October, or discuss succession before then.

ANC deputy secretary general Thandi Modise said members had been asked not to sing derogatory songs about leaders.

"We sing about different eras and struggles," she told reporters.

Modise said that was why she found the action taken by AfriForum against former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema for singing "dubul’ ibhunu" (shoot the boer) last year amusing.

"The ANC, in the real African way, will continue to sing," she said.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  mangaung 2012  |  politics

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