Zuma blends in to tackle service delivery

2012-06-14 17:33

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma sought some truth on service delivery on Thursday by taking public transport from Pretoria to Soweto in Gauteng's rush hour.

Upon his arrival in Soweto, he told residents that reports the government received on service delivery could not always be trusted.

"Writing a report is easy. You can send someone to write for you a report and they tell you that all is well. We have now come to check if what we have been told is true."

Zuma was speaking at a community meeting in Soweto, accompanied by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Transport Minister Ben Martins, and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

"We have come today to hear what the communities feel. There are national ministers here, the premier and your councillors. You should always get the chance to [speak to] government and express your grievances," Zuma said, speaking in Zulu.

"I have heard there are challenges around the provision of water. I could not leave the minister responsible for water (Edna Molewa) when I came to meet you. Whatever questions you have, she will answer."

At the conclusion of his initial speech, Zuma asked residents to tell him about their grievances.

Most spoke of biting poverty, a lack of basic services, crime and corruption.

"We are being abused by young people who abuse drugs in our communities. Imagine an old woman being robbed of her government grant pension. How do you expect us to survive?" asked one elderly woman.

Other speakers raised complaints about police brutality when dealing with the citizens.

"Mr President, we applaud you for dismissing (General) Bheki Cele. Our humble plea is that you please fire all of his followers. Bheki Cele’s boys must go now," said a youth.

The high level tour on Thursday, dubbed "The President's Monitoring Visit 2012" was organised to give the president a personal taste of public transport in Gauteng during rush hour.

It started off with Zuma arriving at about 07:00 at Pretoria's main Bosman train station, and buying his ticket, to take a Metrorail train ride.


On the train, commuters spoke emotionally about the "poor" train service.

"We are struggling, president. The trains are always overloaded like this - this is how we survive," said one commuter.

In Kempton Park, Zuma boarded the high speed Gautrain to Sandton.

The president said public transport systems in the country had to change.

"Commuters were complaining. I have been told that the trains are not reliable, there is no security and at times they [the trains] just stop in the middle of nowhere. Workers are struggling to get to work, that is not good for the economy," he told reporters.

"I am more convinced now that we need faster and [more] secure trains." He said problems at the passenger train service Metrorail were detrimental to South Africa's economic growth and development.

He told reporters on the tour that he had experienced first-hand what thousands of commuters endure daily.

"I have experienced [it] for myself. I have spoken to the workers on the Metrorail trains. They have complained largely about the train service," he said.

"When I used the Gautrain it was a different experience altogether - [it is] efficient, quick and makes people certain about their business. This is the kind of development South Africa needs, though some were criticising for the [Gautrain)]development".

From Sandton the delegation headed for Park Station in Johannesburg.

The president arrived to wild celebrations and cheering at South Africa's main public transport hub.

Zuma walked around the station complex, greeting and waving as people jostled to catch a glimpse of him.

He then proceeded to the adjacent Wanderers Street taxi rank, where he spoke to several taxi drivers and passengers.

Many passengers complained about the rising costs of public transport. Most passengers appealed to the president to intervene and arrest the run-away transport costs.

At the taxi platform for mini-buses heading to Nkandla (Zuma's hometown) some commuters offered the president a choice seat to travel next to them.

But Zuma led his entourage to the Rea Vaya bus system, where he bought his ticket to Soweto. The delegates arrived in Soweto after 11:00.

From midday Zuma addressed multitudes of residents who had packed the Dlamini Multi-Purpose Centre in Soweto.

  • daniel.kahn.50 - 2012-06-14 17:41

    Definately blended in with his police and helicopter escorts

      Vince - 2012-06-14 17:46

      Yes and apart from him "blending" in with an entoruage that can fill a 747 he would by now have forgotten why he went in the first place.

      Squeegee - 2012-06-14 17:53

      Went wife hunting in Gauteng.

      Koos - 2012-06-14 18:11

      @Squeegee: MMmmmm maybe we should demand he take a white wife. Maybe zipper-boy needs less bodyguards and more flavour in his life.

      Squeegee - 2012-06-14 18:29

      @Koos Any suggestions?

      Bomb - 2012-06-14 18:37

      ,,,,Evita Bezuidenhout!!!! - 2012-06-14 19:22

      this is a pre election scam, just like the reshuffling of parliament. Will these bastards never stop trying to con us. if they fool the majority, they sure as hell not fooling the minority. Makes you wonder whats wrong with this picture.

      Koos - 2012-06-15 07:53

      @Bomb might be an idea but “she” now runs with the ANC. Same old ANC record, different day. @ Squeegee: No doubt there are more than a few who would do a lot to get their hands on some state sponsored coinage but can you imagine the Zuma homestead if some great looking blond walks into the Zuma household. They would have to reserve a website just for the drama of that soap. Can you imagine the look on all the wives faces when the competition turns out to be a blond bombshell?

      NrGx - 2012-06-15 08:38

      "blend in"?? - how on earth is clearing the train and having another diesel train following, "blending in"? Zuma, try put on a disguise and then travel in peak hour, see how you like that you ego-testical moron!

  • jurgen.eksteen - 2012-06-14 17:43

    Blending in ... a "normally" dressed average looking man with 30 body guards around him. I don't quite agree with the title of this article.

      Mbavhalelo - 2012-06-18 11:17

      U sound like a racist assasin wishing de president had no guards are nuts

  • braamc - 2012-06-14 17:46

    An election coming closer, need promise the people again.

  • malebo.koturammopo - 2012-06-14 17:48

    So much pomp and little substance!

  • joe.farmer.92775 - 2012-06-14 17:50

    nearly didn't see him behind all the nondescript secret service and photo hogs

      infijar.ken - 2012-06-14 22:06

      How many people were late for work because they were forced to take a later train?

  • grace.andtruth.77 - 2012-06-14 17:50

    How does one 'blend in' with that entourage, including helicopters??? Its ONLY a publicity stunt! He doesn't have to catch a train to know that service delivery in SA sucks...

      raymond.dick.12 - 2012-06-14 17:58

      Maybe it was a publicity stunt; maybe not. Wait and see if he actually does anything. If he does not, then make a noise!

      grace.andtruth.77 - 2012-06-14 18:11

      The only actual 'noise' the ANC has made is about his spear. Every other issue has been silenced

      grace.andtruth.77 - 2012-06-14 18:19

      They even tried to silence their ANCYL issues with MALema! Only he was too vocal

  • erick.mdaka - 2012-06-14 17:51

    I take my hat off to our leader for spending a day in an average man's shoes, our public transport system is failing really and something should be done, hope we will see change n it is not just our political strategy

      Koos - 2012-06-14 18:05

      Well you might as well take off your shorts as well the way this ANC government is taxing us but keep one thing in mind, it’s almost election time and we all know what that means.

      grace.andtruth.77 - 2012-06-14 18:24

      The 'average' man has coaches cleared for his body guards? Helicopters flying overhead? Huh... Really??? I bet whole blocks were cordoned off around the stations! Ja now that's what average people do every day of their lives!!

      Iceberg - 2012-06-14 19:35

      Erick, did you read about Zuma and his deputy spending R210 MILLION on Airforce flights since 2009? These boys lives it up in the lap of luxury. They only want the best. Do you really want to tell me that in all this time he didn't know the public transport system in general and Metrorail in particular are in shambles? And do you SERIOUSLY believe that he is going to do something about it NOW? You can safely predict anyone's future (behaviour) by looking at his/her immediate past (behaviour). NOTHING WILL CHANGE, NOTHING! There isn't money my friend. Since Zuma entered the highest office in 2007 he and his ANC comrades have been acting like kids in a sweets shop. And the looting of our tax money hasn't slowed down one bit. I for one am not going to hold my breath that this is anything other than a publicity stunt.

  • erick.mdaka - 2012-06-14 17:51

    I take my hat off to our leader for spending a day in an average man's shoes, our public transport system is failing really and something should be done, hope we will see change n it is not just our political strategy

      SidewaysView - 2012-06-14 18:10

      Don't hold your breath. Hardly an average man's shoes - with all his security detail and people going out of their way to accommodate him. Nobody really travels like that. Complete waste of time - he is simply attempting to restore a long destroyed image of a people's president. Nothing will come of this

      fdalana - 2012-06-14 18:20

      its just propaganda.

      Iceberg - 2012-06-14 19:36

      Erick, take your hat off and hang it on the hat stand. No need to even put it back on your head.

  • ivan.plooy - 2012-06-14 17:53

    Total heap of crap!!! Trying to gain votes from uneducated and brainwashed innocent citizens, sadly also well educated and responsible citizens also get conned by the ANC - surely this PR stint was arranged weeks in advance with blue light brigades, helicopters and I guess the normal body gaurds plus at least 100 secret service agents all over the place - cost for this PR stint???????

      Bomb - 2012-06-14 18:39 last we found the missing link!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but.....dont you belong in like 3000BC.

      Pieriewaaier - 2012-06-14 19:27

      @Mbavhalelo: Lordy, lodry, lordy! Does it take 500 years for Africans to learn? I am amazed, to say the least as you've just confirmed our worst suspicions. Good luck to you in your total ignorance. Good luck!

      Mbavhalelo - 2012-06-14 20:52

      Just b happy der is no black only toilets, restaurants, street pavements. The blacks will not vote ur whites till Jesus come back viva mugabe

      infijar.ken - 2012-06-14 22:18

      The shame is, Mbavhalelo, you don't actually get to vote for your President (who has married most of his wives since he became Pres!) A few people within the ANC get to vote for the President. All you are asked to do is vote for a Party. They do (or don't do, as the case may be) the rest in your name, whether you like it or not. You, my friend have absolutely no say (unless you are actually a delegate at Mangaung) in who rules this country.

  • Megan - 2012-06-14 17:54

    God this man really is an idiot. ONE DAY on a train, surrounded by bodyguards and everything else that travels with a president HARDLY gives you an idea as to the conditions faced daily by the people who rely on those means of transport. This is so absolutely ridiculous that I can't even find the funny side anymore. "The presidents monitoring visit 2012"... Zuma, who the Hell came up with that!?! Unless I am mistaken and he's going to spend the next 6 months utilising public transport in a diversity of areas (not just one) then maybe that title/slogan would have a bit more substance to it... If not... I actually can't even dredge up an ounce of sympathy for the desperate people who believe this drivel.

  • raymond.dick.12 - 2012-06-14 17:56

    When he does nothing you complain, when he does something you complain. I know the guy and his party are a bunch of whack jobs, but if complain all the time, you eventually become back ground noise. The only thing to note here is the date of his "evaluation". The next thing to note, is the inevitable non-delivery. At that point make a noise. For now just observe!

  • shaylene.stenger - 2012-06-14 18:00

    I really should start taking bets on all the empty promises, I would be rich right now.... Once again service delivery has been used as a barganing tool to rack in the votes.... And to keep Zuma in for a second term.... SMH

  • margaux.doeebrahim - 2012-06-14 18:00

    educated and uneducated people will still vote for the fool. cant vote da as they will bring back apartheid... go figure.

      Koos - 2012-06-14 18:06

      So based on your argument you are one of the uneducated then?

      smili.fication - 2012-06-14 18:09

      Your a idiot if you think apartheid can exist again....

  • margaux.doeebrahim - 2012-06-14 18:00

    educated and uneducated people will still vote for the fool. cant vote da as they will bring back apartheid... go figure.

      Mtshezi Yonk'insipho Iyawasha Mkhize - 2012-06-14 18:05

      No we will not vote for the DA coz we are not interested!!!!!!

      smili.fication - 2012-06-14 18:10

      No, you cant vote DA because you are both sheep!

      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-06-14 21:19

      Apartheid will never be again (not from the whites side...the white folks of today would not allow it)... No one is forcing you to vote DA...that's what nice about vote for who you want...with just a little advise....learn about what all the parties stand for....don't be a sheep.

  • mthokozisi.mbele - 2012-06-14 18:03

    Just garnering support...for Mangaung...true populist.

  • Warwick Bristow - 2012-06-14 18:09

    Say what you like, getting first hand knowledge of what ordinary people experience is a good thing - that's what leaders should be doing. The question remains, is anything going to be done about it?

      Bomb - 2012-06-14 18:44

      excuse me.....he should then be doing it for a week continously, or use taxis for a week, or sleep in a township for a week, or walk the streets looking for a job for a week, or sleep in the cold for a week, or go hungry for a couple of days, or go without electricity and water for a week, cause thats what the majority of ordinary sa people experience daily. A hour train ride doesnt reflect what is going on, so stupid remark.

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-06-14 19:24

      @bomb, I think you got issues man, you need help. Go burn flags with your friends and leave the peaceful people alone pleaseeeee. Let's see which one is a stupid between Warwick's and your comment, tell me one president in the whole world who has ever done what you say the president must do. None right? So, Warwick, this country needs men like you. @bomb get help, if nobody is willing to help, approach VVK, they might tell you where the next flag burning rally is.

      Bomb - 2012-06-15 07:12

      @ratsaka.......your comment has just proved why showerhead is the president, if you dont get it now, dont worry, some day you will. We forgive you.

  • fdalana - 2012-06-14 18:11

    he should have done it before he ran for presedency.

      fdalana - 2012-06-14 20:02


  • cyprianm1 - 2012-06-14 18:12

    I think mr president did the right thing but at a wrong place why go to soweto those people already have basics im not saying they are ok but there are place in othe provinces where people dont have water electricity and their mayors are living and driving luxary cars nd they award their friends tenders only to find that they fil their pockets nd poor people are stil suffering, my poit is mr president dont go to obvius places there are people in northwest who bath drink nd cook with thesame water nd their coucilors nd mayors report is all is wel

  • cyprianm1 - 2012-06-14 18:12

    I think mr president did the right thing but at a wrong place why go to soweto those people already have basics im not saying they are ok but there are place in othe provinces where people dont have water electricity and their mayors are living and driving luxary cars nd they award their friends tenders only to find that they fil their pockets nd poor people are stil suffering, my poit is mr president dont go to obvius places there are people in northwest who bath drink nd cook with thesame water nd their coucilors nd mayors report is all is wel

  • mathoki - 2012-06-14 18:15

    So, the report that he got was it any different from what he experienced today? He should have asked me to write the report, I use public transport everyday. ...

  • petrus.fortuin - 2012-06-14 18:18

    Good Prez,but the people behind u was your bodyguards. My father was robbed of his umbrella. "Power to the People". Aluta Continua. Oh this is election yr. Will the Prez travel by train to Mangaung? Just a question ....

  • Vusi Mthethwa - 2012-06-14 18:27

    if uses strong language 2 da president,dat touchs us,because he is our leader,so there s da peace of advise if u can beat them join them join da ANC we will Vote 4 da ANC till we die.

      Bomb - 2012-06-14 18:48

      he is not my president my friend, i didnt vote for him, so he doesnt represent me in any way. Dont worry, the anc will see that you die sooner rather than later due to hunger, unemployment, sub standard healthcare, acid water, cold, etc.....

      ndumiso.mhlophe - 2012-06-14 22:05

      tell them Vusi....

  • ptmakgato - 2012-06-14 18:29

    I here u Mr president, however u haven't been to the vaal, trains and buses and taxis are just the same and they very expensive. To go to jhb from orange farm is R21 single using a taxi. People work for nothing but unreliable transport. I'll appreciate it if u can consider vaal as well.

  • Adam - 2012-06-14 18:30

    zuma got on the wrong train. He thought it was the gravy train.

  • grant.olivier.92 - 2012-06-14 18:31

    That very nice... Now can we see Mr Prez behind the wheel of a regular car on our freeways in peak hour traffic without a blue light brigade and with an E-toll tag?

  • Burtfred - 2012-06-14 18:33

    Oh puleeze! How can you "blend in" when you are surrounded by a dozen heavily armed bodyguards and you have military helicopters circling overhead for your "protection". The entire trip was pre-planned with Metrorail, Gautrain and Rea vaya, so they were all on their best behaviour - if that's possible. This is merely a vote catching excercise. Methinks the Zuma spear lovepants is sweating a bit ahead of Manguang.

  • Annette - 2012-06-14 18:33

    Did his bodyguards run next to the train or were they all dressed as commuters? Ras the trains fitted with blue lights and sirens?

  • Bomb - 2012-06-14 18:36

    So predictable, one would swear there is a voting or election coming up.

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-06-14 19:09

      Unfortunately no elections, give credit where it's due. Silly.

  • Deon - 2012-06-14 18:47

    OH PLEASE!! Both the British prime minister and the queen of England regularly travel by rail and are never followed by an entourage of beodyguards or an army of photographers! This should be this self-important idiot's accepted mode of transport, since this is the transport that he provides to his people!!!

  • rasthami.m1 - 2012-06-14 19:07

    All roads leading to mangaung the stage is set and the gloves are off -motlhanthe awaits the throne

  • Nick Maimonis - 2012-06-14 19:10

    Mmmm so Pres Zuma jumped on a train and a bus!!!! Question: did he get into one of our "roadworthy" taxis????? Me thinks NOT!!!!!

  • jacqui.grigg - 2012-06-14 20:00

    ....and queue another pre-election ploy...

  • George - 2012-06-14 20:08

    Does he not believe the millions of people who are deprived every day and who have been asking for attention since 1994? How does he justify the R210 million airplane bill? How many houses, how many trains, how many toilets ?

  • peter.g.sibuyi - 2012-06-14 20:44

    That Good Mr Presudent, how about u fu#ckoff in our faces cause u r just a waste of time. Pls go back where u came from 'spear'

  • marious.mathekga - 2012-06-14 20:49

    Mangaung Mangaung, Zuma is only manguang that makes u to act like this, u dnt care abt ppl on the grass roots. U r looking for second term nothing else.

  • phuti.hlabane - 2012-06-14 21:03

    Look if he cares abt ths country,he should just resign & let an intelligent somebody lead.we r a joke to the world.

      Sharon - 2012-06-14 21:18

      phuti - they dont care about the country,its all about power.a pollitician is a different breed of person,they look you in the eye and lie and feel nothing,we have to vote for who ever caan give us the best deal and if they dont deliver ,out they go and bring in the next must remember these clowns are supposed to work for us not the other way around,we pay their fat salaries

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