Christmas time at Nkandla

2014-12-28 15:00

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It was a day that memories are made of for thousands of grannies living near President Jacob Zuma’s homestead in KwaNxamalala village in Nkandla when they received Christmas presents from the president.

At the annual event organised by the Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust, the elderly women were presented with food parcels and blankets, and were entertained by award-winning gospel stars Hlengiwe Mhlaba and Sifiso Ncwane.

To avoid a repeat of the stampede which ended with the tragic death of Thembekile Ntombizamani Shangase (61) last year when youths clamoured for gifts, grannies were given tickets and picked up their parcels when their numbers were called out.

This year saw marshals and a large police contingent controlling the crowd.

President Zuma personally handed out gifts to the first group of eight elderly women, all aged between 90 and 100.

“It is our responsibility to look after the elderly because at this age they can no longer look after themselves,” said Zuma in a speech beforehand, emphasising that looking after the elderly was part of building a responsible nation.

“We need to respect them and show them love for this is the same love they showed us when they were raising us,” he said.

President Jacob Zuma says it is our responsibility to look after the elderly. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/City Press

This was the same message he shared when he attended another Christmas party for grannies in Savannah Park outside Durban on Tuesday. The party was organised by the Masiqhakaze Women’s Organisation.

The Nkandla party was far better attended than the Savannah Park one. It also had more prominent sponsors, including Transnet, Pioneer Foods and Boxer Superstores.

There were numerous BEEs in attendance and Range Rovers were seemingly the cars of the day, with many struggling to find parking at the sports ground opposite Zuma’s sprawling homestead.

Familiar faces included Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and her deputy, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo and Ethekwini Mayor James Nxumalo.

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