Durban – Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday closed ranks around President Jacob Zuma saying those who criticised him would not be able to do a better job, given the opportunity.
Mthethwa was introducing the president to a packed marquee where the Masiqhakaze Women’s Organisation hosted a Christmas party for the elderly at Savannah Park Sports Grounds near Chatsworth.
"Dogs don’t bark at stationary vehicles, they howl at moving vehicles," he said in IsiZulu, loosely meaning empty tins make more noise.
Mthethwa told the elderly that they should ignore those who were "making noise" about Zuma.
"We like the way that the president is running the country. We want him to continue to govern the people.
"Don’t worry about those that are making noise about the president. People will always talk, they are armchair critics."
He said Zuma’s critics were like commentators on the sidelines of a soccer game.
"When you say play the game, they don’t even know where to begin.
"We are happy with the way you do things, Mr President," Mthethwa said to loud ululation from the crowd.
Zuma has received wide criticism for the axing of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and replacing him with the unknown David van Rooyen.
'I wanted to get the best seat'
Zuma later reconsidered "after listening to the people". He then appointed Pravin Gordhan as the finance minister.
Earlier, while waiting for the president to arrive, Doris Mkhwanazi, 76, from Savannah Park told News24 that she woke up at 4:00 in the morning just to see the president.
"I wanted to get the best seat," said Mkhwanazi.
Dressed in a white formal blouse, she said she chose the shirt because it was for special occasions.
"I woke up this morning, got dressed and made porridge because I knew that we were going to wait."
She said when she heard that the president was visiting the elderly, she wanted to be among the crowd.
"Grannies in Umlazi are envious of us, you know," she said.
She said if she had an opportunity to speak to the president, she would thank him for everything.
"I pray God blesses him," she said.