I’ve paid my dues – Zuma

2012-05-23 13:51

President Jacob Zuma has lashed out at his critics, saying his contribution to the liberation struggle renders him fit to rule South Africa.

In what is seen as his first public reference to the controversy surrounding artist Brett Murray’s painting that depicts his genitals, Zuma warned against being provoked.

Even though he did not refer explicitly to the controversy surrounding the painting in his speech, Zuma warned against what he called “big-mouthed” people who were not there when things were tough in SA.

“I think we are very kind. Kind because we have a deeper understanding of the destiny of our people, the destiny of this country,” he told a congress of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

“People say this person is not supposed to govern the country. He knows nothing. I fought for liberation, I knew what I was doing,” he said in a mixture of isiZulu and English.

“I am not here because I got lost somewhere and I found myself being here. I was part of the struggle.

“I’m not like people who come today and speak louder ... who make themselves judges to judge us. We’ve never judged them. We’ve never said where they were during the struggle,” he said.

Zuma also warned against communities that still believe that they are superior to others, saying that this will not help foster reconciliation.

He said reconciliation and social cohesion were a “two-way street” that called for humility and the need to accept the equality of people.

NUM president Senzeni Zokwana had earlier called for an all-men march to the Goodman Gallery in protest against what he called a “cruel” depiction of president.

He said the march should be led by Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini and should be attended by men only “because we will be naked”.

Zuma called on members of the NUM, whose leadership reportedly wants to push for him to be retained by the ANC in Mangaung in December, to take part in all ANC structures so that they could influence the direction of the party.

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