Zuma recalls childhood battles to pitch education trust

2017-02-10 23:02
President Jacob Zuma speaks to business people and politicians in Cape Town. (Matthew le Cordeur, Fin24)

President Jacob Zuma speaks to business people and politicians in Cape Town. (Matthew le Cordeur, Fin24)

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WATCH: After SONA fracas, Zuma plays golf

2017-02-10 15:09

President Zuma, as part of the SONA activities, took part in the Presidential Golf Challenge on Friday. The aim of the event was to raise funds for a CSI initiative by Zuma, with this year's contributions to be made to the Jacob Zuma Education Trust. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma’s childhood battle with education inspired him to create a trust to educate disadvantaged children, he told politicians and black business leaders in Cape Town on Friday. 

Fresh from the State of the Nation travails with red hard hats and pepper spray in Parliament on Thursday night, Zuma moved into his calm, cheerful mood as supporters came together to raise funds for disadvantaged scholars and university students. 

Sponsors and contributors to the fund include Cell C, Transnet, MMI Holdings, and Brian Molefe in his personal capacity. They raised R36m over the last few years.

“I experienced a life without education,” Zuma told the audience. He encouraged them to donate to the trust. 

“It was very tough. I then took a decision to educate myself in one of the most poverty-stricken areas called Nkandla, which is now so popular.” 

As a youngster in rural KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma said he dreamed of being a teacher, pastor, and lawyer before he moved into politics. 

“I tried to educate my siblings, which was interrupted very rudely by the apartheid system by arresting me. I still learn up to this day,” he said.

“I can distinguish between the good thing from the bad thing. I can analyse what happened in Parliament.” 

Zuma said the late president Nelson Mandela had refused to allow him to work as an MEC in KwaZulu-Natal as he was supposed to be a Cabinet minister in the first dispensation. Zuma said he persuaded Mandela to allow him to bring peace to the province. He consented.

It was as MEC of economic affairs and tourism in the province that he thought of the education trust. His premier gave him R500 000 as part of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) budget to use with haste to start building the province. 

Zuma said education was always his number one goal. His fund was eventually called the JG Zuma RDP Education Trust, inspired by the RDP.

“The system of apartheid disempowered the majority deliberately by design,” he said. “That is what has made us behind others. It is the black children that are on drugs. They are delaying the RDP, the reconstruction of the country.

“Education is a passion we all need to deal with the bigger picture of the country,” he said.

“We need a skilled labour force and skilled citizenry who can create jobs – it can happen. 

“Even the #feesmustfall crisis is important to look at rather than just criticise – what can we do?” he said.

“It is the country’s national investment. You will produce the citizens that will make this country proud. 

“We want to make our citizens empowered so they participate in a rich and prosperous South Africa.”


Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  education  |  university fees

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