Running a country is a burden: Zuma

By admin
29 May 2014

President Jacob Zuma spent time with 20 high school girls from Gauteng, as part of the take-a-girl-child-to-work campaign. He assured the girls that running a country was a heavy burden.

Running a country is a heavy burden, President Jacob Zuma told girls from several Gauteng high schools on Thursday. "It is a very heavy responsibility," he told the girls at the Union Buildings.

Zuma said a president had to understand the country's people.

"It is not a matter I take for granted because if anything goes wrong in the country, you are to blame."

Zuma met the girls as part of the take-a-girl-child-to-work campaign.

About 20 pupils spent the morning at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, interacting with him and Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu.

Zuma spent the time answering questions from the pupils as they interrogated him to find out what it took to run a country and how he dealt with every day stress.

One asked how he kept his composure when the media and opposition parties slammed him.

"Just be composed. Don't get angry. Once you get angry, your senses are mixed and you can't think straight," he said.

Zuma, wearing a black suit and polka dot tie, smiled and laughed as he answered questions.

His demeanour changed, however, when two pupils told him about their problems and asked for help.

One told him her sister, who attends the University of Johannesburg with the aid of funds from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, was struggling to buy food at recess as both parents were unemployed.

"Give your details to one of the guys at the back and we will help out," he said.

Another girl asked Zuma to assist the orphanage where she lived with a hall and he promised to visit the home in Atteridgeville to see what could be done.

Zuma was bombarded with questions ranging from his job to events world-wide.

One asked what Zuma would do if schoolgirls were abducted in South Africa, as they had in Nigeria by militant group Boko Haram.

"Such things happen under certain circumstances, but in South Africa such circumstance would never happen," he replied.

"Hypothetically speaking, if such was to happen, we will never sleep. We will look for you until we find you."

He was asked about his day-to-day work and what it entailed. He detailed his schedule and explained what it took to be a president of a country.

Zuma said a president had to understand the country's people.

"Understand what leadership is. Join a party and work with it. Join a party that has a clear understanding of its policies. Be knowledgeable," Zuma said.

- SAPA

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