Zuma rails at drunks

2013-12-19 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday said South Africa suffered a “sickness” of disrespect, and railed against a culture of drinking among men.

Speaking in Impendle, 70 km from Pietermaritzburg, at a post-Reconciliation Day event — his first speech following the mourning period for Nelson Mandela — the president emphasised the need for all people to make an effort to be respectful to others in order for nation-building to be a success.

The event also marked the anniversary of the rise of his relative, Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma, to the chieftainship of Nxamalala.

Zuma said the nation was “sick”.

“If our nation was healthy, the chief would not have convened this gathering.

“Let us build a nation of good standing, be respectful and love other people,” he said.

Referring to the community in Impendle, he added: “There are men who are not of good standing … it means they do not respect themselves.

“The inkosi cannot single them out but has chosen to call this meeting so he does not have to expose them.”

Zuma said men should be respected in their communities and even when consuming alcohol this should be done in a respectful manner. “Even if you drink, drink with respect,” he said.

“You should not walk around as if you are herding livestock,” he said referring to those who needed to be carried home when drunk.

The president’s speech, mostly serious in nature, took a light turn when he advised young men and women to abstain from consuming alcohol.

He also said he found it strange that young men and women were meeting each other over social network sites like Facebook.

“How can you propose to someone you don’t know? How do you know that this person you are meeting is of good standing.”

To raucous laughter, he added: “When you grow up you must be married and start your own homes. There is no country that was built by an unmarried man.”

He again asked for South Africans to build a nation that was respectful.

Last year at the event, Zuma famously said that blacks should not copy white culture, which he said included spending money on pet dogs.

Zuma was booed last week as he took to the podium to speak at former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial service at FNB stadium in Soweto, but he was well received yesterday.

When he arrived at the homestead of the chief, a group of warriors greeted him with a Zulu war song Ungayithinti iMamba eluhlaza (Don’t touch the green mamba).

The song was later repeated for Zuma with those gathered saying that it meant the president was tough and should not be played around with.

Kwaito stars like Big Nuz and maskandi music groups entertained the crowd of about 5 000 people.

Zuma arrived at the event four hours later than scheduled but the gathered crowd did not complain.

While they waited, the Independent Electoral Commission and the Department of Social Development answered questions and assisted those who wanted to apply for social grants.

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