South Africans must ‘wake up’ – Zuma

2014-10-19 14:19

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South Africa, unlike other African countries, has focused intensely on improving the life of its citizens, President Jacob Zuma has said.

“What is it that causes protests and demonstrations in South Africa when the rest of Africa is not doing it? Once the countries were free, it was each one for themselves. There were no programs to deal with poor people,” said Zuma in Pretoria.

“If I am wrong, come and tell me which country did as we did. Once we were free we said our major focus is to address the plight of the poor. In no country in the world have you seen government giving people houses free of charge because they are poor.”

Zuma said that since 1994, government had immensely improved the lives of citizens.

“There was no one who was talking about electricity in the rural areas before 1994. It was not an issue and there were no protests for that.

“No one was saying ‘take services to the people’.”

Due to the extensive roll-out of services after 1994, South Africans had become dependent on the state.

“The reality you can't find protests in other places is that there is no hope. When foreigners come to South Africa, because they are not used to government handing [out] things, they get here and see opportunities and thrive,” said Zuma.

“Our people are waiting for government. Our people are not used to standing up and doing things. These ones [foreigners] are not expecting any government to do anything so they get here, see opportunities and exploit them.

“They have taken over your small businesses.”

If he were a journalist, he would write to South Africans to say “wake up”.

Zuma made the remarks at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guesthouse at the Black Wednesday commemorations.

On Wednesday, October 19 1977, the apartheid regime clamped down on the media, banning two newspapers, The World and the Weekend World.

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