Zuma can't think of anything he could have done differently

2017-12-16 06:40
President Jacob Zuma addresses party delegates during the ANC policy conference in Johannesburg. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

President Jacob Zuma addresses party delegates during the ANC policy conference in Johannesburg. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma can't think of anything he could have done differently in his tenure as president.

"I can't remember a big thing that I could say there was something where I made a mistake, I made a mess here," he said in an interview with the SABC.

"I have been very careful…"

Read more: 'Very honest' Jacob Zuma denies backing Dlamini-Zuma

He claimed to be a victim a "huge plan to character assassinate me", which he first got wind of in 1990 in an intelligence report.

Zuma said he had "put out [his] feelers" to establish the reason for this.

He found an answer, he said, but didn't want to share the details, hinting that he may reveal it in a book.

"That helped me to understand the type of conspiracy against me and the reason why," he said.

On Mbeki

He said he and former president Thabo Mbeki "talk when we need to talk, very normally".

"We haven't talked organisational things… We talk when there is a necessity… partly because he is no longer in the structures where we could be interacting."

He said he had no ill feelings towards "comrade Mbeki".

"I was actually a little taken aback when it appears his participation was no longer fully blown in the ANC. I thought even if he was no longer president, he had a contribution to make, not only to the ANC, but to the country."

On Malema

Of EFF leader Julius Malema, he said he "could have handled that young man differently".

"But he was difficult to be handled. I knew that in him there was big potential. And I told him that.  But I think he was just impatient."

When asked if he felt Malema had the potential to be a great leader, he answered, "not necessarily a great leader".

His party's numerous court battles and were also discussed, which Zuma described as unfortunate.

"My view is instead of political discussions, persuasions, which dominate democracy, in our country we have taken our democracy to the other extreme. There is no debate, sufficient debate. There is court debate.

"So the democratic things that are supposed to be happening in the country are discussed in courts rather than in parliament or on political platforms."

He said it "gives the wrong impression that democracy is a terrible system that you have to be in court all the time".

"It creates a wrong impression of democracy, it's not right."

'If that comes, I will go'

Of the court rulings against him, Zuma said he "can't say courts are wrong, unless you appeal, and [even then] you may not come right".

"I think the manner our system is leaves a lot to be desired form my point of view. Knowing the conspiracy from the beginning, I am not surprised. How as you can besmirch or assassinate a person charter-wise? These are some of the things that will have to happen.

"From 1990 I was prepared for this kind of situation. I know how deep it is."

He said he had told a relative he been imprisoned on Robben Island during the struggle, and in his old age there are people who want to see him in jail.

"If that comes, I will go. When I was arrested [during apartheid], it was a wrong arrest, wrong conviction, because I was fighting an evil system. But I spent 10 years and six months in prison.

"I can serve now having committed no crime but the court said you are guilty, as it said to me in 1963. So I think my understanding makes me stay cool."

For more on the elective conference, visit our special report page #ANCVotes

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  anc votes  |  politics  |  anc leadership race

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