When people criticise SA, I actually laugh – Zuma

2012-11-28 10:00

President Jacob Zuma says South Africans do not appreciate enough the strides the country has made.

Speaking at the occassion of the handover of the report of the social cohesion summit by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile and retired justice Yvonne Mokgoro in Pretoria,  Zuma said the problems of social inequality facing the country were "not insurmountable" and that social cohesion would depend on how the country addressed these divisions.

"I am so proud of South Africa. When people criticise South Africa everywhere, I actually laugh and say they don't know where we come from. We come from serious situations. We are in a better, better time than any other," he said.

The summit was convened in July in Kliptown in the wake of the controversy that arose after the publication of the controversial "The Spear" painting, which depicted Zuma with his genital hanging out.

The ambassadors for the initiative – including veteran lawyer, George Bizos, former anti-apartheid activist Brigalia Bam and businessman Sandile Zungu – will take the report to communities to start discussions about building a society with shared values. Another summit will be held in 2014.

Mokgoro said Kliptown said it is South Africans themselves who must create a "humane and inclusive society".

She said she hoped that South Africans would dedicate themselves to another national project, saying they loved their country and wanted to get it right.

Zuma said the summit was not based on "on romantic notions of unity while glossing over problems".

He cited poverty, unemployment, and social divisions around class, gender and race as some of the problems facing the country.

"We believe that none of these challenges are insurmountable, if we work together as different members of society and leaders of our respective communities," he said.

He said South Africans at times failed to recognise their own successes, and cited the talks that brought apartheid to an end as an example.

He also cited the national development, which enshrines the country's long-term vision, as an example of something achieved by citizens, rather than the government or a political party.

- City Press

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