Jacob Zuma cheered, booed in Limpopo

2013-10-08 16:18

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Loud cheers welcoming President Jacob Zuma were accompanied by sporadic booing from a small group of people at a transport month event in Limpopo.

On arrival at the University of Limpopo sports grounds in Mankweng outside Polokwane, Zuma walked around waving at the crowd, but not everybody seemed pleased.

The booing, which was overpowered by the deafening cheering, was briefly heard at least twice when Zuma arrived and when he took to the podium to speak at the event earlier today.

This happened at the same site where Zuma was elected president of the ANC in 2007, following an overwhelming victory over his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki.

Without paying any attention to the booing, the president went on to deliver his speech, urging South Africans to be responsible road users.

“We have had some horrific collisions in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal last month, which claimed dozens of lives. At least 14 000 people die on our roads every year and 46% of these are pedestrians,” he said.

“People lose their loved ones in horrific ways. The situation is abnormal.”

Zuma also spoke strongly against drink-driving.

“Do not drive under the influence of alcohol and do not get into the car driven by someone who has been taking alcohol. I urge all South Africans to obey rules of the road without exception at all times,” he said.

Zuma had earlier joined Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha as well as Transport Minister Dipuo Peters in the official opening of the R245 million R81, which links Polokwane and Giyani.

“The opening of the road is one of the major highlights of October transport month activities and also forms part of government’s programme of rolling out infrastructure projects,” he said.

“We want to create this infrastructure that makes life easy everywhere, not just in the big cities. That is why we have upgraded roads here in Limpopo and other parts of the country. Therefore our effort to make transport the heartbeat of the economy continues in both rural and urban areas.”

On Sunday, City Press reported that Zuma had been ordered to be the face of 50 infrastructure projects by the end of his first term.

Zuma was in Mankweng for the second time in less than a month after visiting the home and grave of deceased firebrand ANC Youth League leader Peter Mokaba last month.

He has also made several appearances in the province over the same period, having addressed the ANC Youth League anniversary commemoration last month. He attended a church service in Giyani on Sunday.

Limpopo is seen as a highly contested province in the coming national elections. Zuma said last month that the ANC was aiming to rake in substantial votes from the province.

Political newcomers Agang SA and the Economic Freedom Fighters are led by Limpopo-born leaders – Mamphela Ramphele and Julius Malema – who are also betting on the province.

The ANC in the province was still hard at work trying to clear some of the political discord ahead of regional conferences and the provincial conference in December where the provincial leadership will be elected.

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