(Photo by RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP)
Former president Jacob Zuma on Friday urged a group of supporters to be wary of media reports and rather honour ANC veterans.
"Veterans were willing to give up their lives. They deserve respect. Don't be hoodwinked by reports that say we are thieves. We aren't criminals."
He was speaking at the handover of a house to 70-year-old struggle veteran Amos Ndalwane in Lamontville, Durban.
Zuma said that struggle veterans deserved to live in dignity.
"ANC supporters/members gave up their lives so we can have freedom. The ANC needs to be in power, because it fought for this freedom. As a black person, who else can you vote for but the ANC? How have the other parties helped you?"
Zuma said his vote was "not a secret" and added that more had to be done for black South Africans.
"We haven't achieved true freedom - we have political power, but we still don't have economic power. We need these two things to truly fight poverty."
He said the struggle for freedom was won by the laymen and not academics or elites.
"The struggle was hard, it wasn't fun. People were willing to put their lives on the line."
'Young boys don't know ANC's history'
Zuma made a special mention of women who lived during apartheid.
"These women suffered immensely, but often don't get the credit. They had to live without their husbands for extended periods of time, without knowing if they were still alive."
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule shared similar sentiments while on the campaign trail with Zuma in KwaZulu-Natal.
He accused the media of being ignorant of the struggles that the ruling party and its members had endured.
Taking a jab at Gangster State, a book that details alleged dodgy dealings during his time as premier of the Free State, Magashule on Friday said ANC supporters should shrug off media criticism.
"We must never be demotivated by the media attacks. We know who we are. They cannot write biographies and all that. Young boys cannot write about our history. We must not worry too much. We must stay focused."
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