May Day booing sign of a healthy democracy, says unfazed Zuma

President Jacob Zuma at the World Economic Forum in Durban. (Pic: Liesl Peyer, Fin24)
President Jacob Zuma at the World Economic Forum in Durban. (Pic: Liesl Peyer, Fin24)

Durban – President Jacob Zuma said he doesn’t feel rejected by the working class, after he was jeered off the stage at a May Day rally in Bloemfontein on Monday. The Worker’s Day gathering, where Zuma was supposed to speak, was cancelled.

He was responding to a question at an impromptu media briefing during a walkabout at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Durban on Wednesday.

When asked about the booing at the May Day rally, the president was speaking about his happiness that the WEF is taking place on South African soil.

A confident Zuma said people who’ve been commenting on the matter have no understanding of how democracy works.

“I’ve been hearing comments all over, but the problem is people don’t understand what democracy is about. You’ll agree with me that in the countries of dictators there are no protests or booing – all these things are part of the culture of democracy.

"Unfortunately people misread this. In a political democracy people engage heads of state. They criticise heads of state for (their) views because they are expressing themselves freely,” Zuma said.

“If I were one of you (journalists), I’d write columns and columns educating people about democracy. In a country where there’s no democracy, there will be an angry president charging the police to arrest these people.

“But democracy says: Let these people express themselves. Governments are in place democratically and removed democratically through the vote.

“To me, I’m very happy that SA has matured democratically.

"I wish I was a journalist and a columnist, I would educate people about democracy,” Zuma said.


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