'Very honest' Jacob Zuma denies backing Dlamini-Zuma

2017-12-15 22:32
President Jacob Zuma (Thuli Dlamini, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

President Jacob Zuma (Thuli Dlamini, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

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Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma has described himself as a "very honest politician" and denied that he wanted to influence the outcome of the ANC elective conference in Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's favour.

In an exclusive interview with the SABC on Friday, Zuma said analysts who said he supported Dlamini-Zuma's bid to follow in his footsteps were mistaken.

"I don't want to take sides, because I don't want to influence it (presidential race)," Zuma told the SABC's Mzwandile Mbeje. He said he had heard analysts say he had come out in support of Dlamini-Zuma.

"That is actually not true," he said. "I've never done it."

'I would abstain from voting'

He said when Dlamini-Zuma returned from the African Union Commission, which she chaired, her church received her and he was invited.

"As a cadre that I have worked with, that I know, I was just talking about what type of person she has been wherever she has been given responsibility," Zuma said, gesticulating with his hands.

"The analysts thought I was praising her. Not at all."

Zuma said he had spoken about many other "cadres that have performed".

"Even if I was to be in my branch, as president I would keep quiet if this issue came [up] so that they would take their decisions. I would even abstain from voting."

Zuma said he would not want to give the impression that he had a preferred candidate, "particularly now where people are saying there are factions".

"I can't be found in a faction." "People come and talk to me, whoever. They can't say we're afraid to talk to you, because I'm the president," Zuma said.

No regrets

Zuma also said he was ready to bow out as president and would be even more active in politics.

"I'll also have more of what people call freedom of speech, heh-heh," said Zuma, as he chuckled. Asked about the ANC stalwarts' letters asking him to resign, Zuma said there had been a "very concentrated campaign" against him and questioned the authenticity of a letter from late struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada to him.

He said when he came back from exile in 1990 and he was still working in intelligence, he came to know of a conspiracy against him.

Asked if he made mistakes, Zuma said: "Well, I'm not sure, unless somebody tells me what I have done."

There's nothing he would have done differently, the outgoing ANC president said. "I can't remember a big thing that I can say, 'I've made a mistake'."

Asked about the recent court judgments against him, he said: "The courts are courts, I can't say courts are wrong."

Zuma said the ANC was in a very strong position to win the 2019 elections.

"I'm a very honest politician," he said

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

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

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