Zuma defends ‘patronage’ comments

2013-04-17 10:37

President Jacob Zuma has defended his controversial comments that businesses that support the ANC would “multiply”.

Zuma made the comments at an ANC fund-raising gala dinner in Durban in January, where the party reportedly raised more than R21 million.

“Support (for the ANC) is fine, we love it. But if you just go beyond that and become a member you’ll realise everything of yours will go very well. If you are a businessman business will thrive. Everything you touch will multiply,” Zuma said.

In a written response to a parliamentary question from DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko as to whether the statement represented government policy, Zuma said the remarks were in “the context of the good policies of the ruling party”.

He said it had been demonstrated over the years that ANC policies were “business-friendly” and resulted in economic stability.

“The remarks were a call to business to continue supporting the ruling party as the only party that has consistently proven that it can create a good environment for economic growth and transformation as well as to expand opportunities locally, in Africa and abroad for business, in an effort to promote the creation of jobs.

“In addition, ANC government policies such as black economic empowerment and affirmative action have also contributed to the growth of South Africa’s black middle class and this development is important for economic growth and transformation,” he said.

Zuma said business, the ANC government and other stakeholders were “well-placed to achieve the prosperity envisaged in the National Development Plan”.

Zuma drew flak for his remarks, which were interpreted to mean that government favours businesses that support the ANC.

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