Tell the world it's democracy - Zuma to ambassadors

2016-10-18 16:19
President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS via Twitter)

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS via Twitter)

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Pretoria - When people in other countries ask about current events in South Africa the country's ambassadors should reply that it is democracy at play, President Jacob Zuma told the envoys in Pretoria on Tuesday.

He said the country was not crumbling but is a developing and functional democracy. 

"I want to say to you when people say 'what's happening in South Africa?', 'why these protests?', tell them that's democracy. 'Why does it look like the ruling party is fighting?' - that's democracy," said Zuma addressing the ambassadors.

Speaking off the cuff at the end of his address at the Heads of Diplomatic Missions Conference underway in Pretoria, Zuma addressed what many have described as the decline of the country, economy and government.

Zuma has faced harsh criticism over the ongoing violent study fee protests at institutions of higher learning, public spats between ministries and the finance minister's legal woes.

The president said mistakes were costly in a democracy.

"You make mistakes, you're punished for it - that's democracy. You learn how to not make mistakes so that you never lose one day," he said.

'No problem'

Zuma said current events in the country were strengthening its democracy and added that democracy would never crumble. 

"The critical comment is that democracy is growing, it's advancing."

Zuma was also criticised following the decline in support the ANC experienced in the 2016 municipal elections.

He said on Tuesday there was nothing wrong in one party being replaced by another.

"In democracy people can get rid of the new leaders they don't like and have the leaders that they want. There's no problem about it, it's democracy."

He said South Africans had views and were not afraid to share them.

"Democracy is a debate. Debates at times are over exaggerated in South Africa. Sometimes we debate over and over and over - but that is democracy you can't go wrong. South Africa goes for everything," said the president. 

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  politics

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