President Jacob Zuma says critics of the ANC do not offer alternatives when they criticise the party’s policies.
Speaking at the party’s fundraising gala dinner at the Durban International Convention Centre last night, Zuma said “criticism and misplaced analysis” of the party dated back to the time when the party was fighting for liberation.
“We were told we will never deliver freedom, and we are told now we will never deliver a prosperous South Africa. But the ANC has the clearest policies in the country. It knows what it is doing as it knew what it was doing when it was fighting,” he said.
He said that those who had “given themselves a very easy job” of criticising the party offered no alternatives.
“We’ll certainly respect those who will criticise the ANC, but offer alternatives. It doesn’t make good sense just to criticise continuously without saying this is what you are supposed to do,” he said.
Zuma said some of the party’s detractors have resorted to endorsing the party’s policies while decrying the lack of implementation on the part of his government.
“When all is said and done the ANC’s record of delivery speaks for itself. We have made good progress since 1994. Comparatively speaking, there’s no country in the continent (with) the record we have made in 18 years,” he said.
Taking a swipe at the media, Zuma said the media gave the impression that the views it articulates represents those of the people of South Africa, yet this was not true.
He denied accusations that the party was deliberately keeping the population uneducated so that the majority would continue voting for the party.
“I thought the most brilliant of this country vote ANC,” he said.
Zuma’s remarks come at a time when the party is said to be attempting to clean up Zuma’s image ahead of next year’s general elections in a bid to consolidate its electoral support.
Zuma said the party was poised to develop a cadre who must work hard to deliver complete freedom to South Africans.
He said the party wanted to change the perception that “every cadre is corrupt”, and said that was the reason why it had appointed Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to run its political school.
The party had come out of Mangaung united despite predictions of divisions ahead of the elective conference last month, he said.
He said the fact that nobody noticed the elective conference of two parties late last year – a reference to the DA and Inkatha Freedom Party – spoke volumes about the role of the ANC in the country’s political landscape.
Today, Zuma will deliver the party’s annual January 8 statement, which outlines the party’s policy and political direction at a rally in Durban.