Why I booed President Zuma

2013-12-15 16:24

I had the privilege of being at the FNB stadium on Tuesday, 10 December 2013, to pay tribute to our fallen freedom fighter Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. The atmosphere was great when we arrived there was singing of struggle songs and an electric vibe. From where I was sitting with my spouse there were majority of ANC members wearing Mandela and ANC regalia. U.S. President Barack Obama received a roaring ovation, Mama Winnie Mandela; Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as well as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon were cheered by the masses around me. Former President Thabo Mbeki received the loudest cheer, whistles and ululation from the crowd and it was sustained. The crowd even shouted “MBEKI, MBEKI, MBEKI!” several times.

Then came our current sitting President Jacob Zuma; who was booed every time he appeared on the big screen. This was accompanied by thumbs-down gestures and rotating hand movements, the sign for a substitution in a football match. The booing was loud and it was vicious, it came from people wearing ANC regalia who cheered Mbeki, Mama Winnie, Obama and Mugabe.

Booing and heckling of leaders appears to be ANC culture as recently happened in October 2013, the DA leader and Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille was booed and heckled by a hostile crowd in President Zuma’s presence.  The protesters booed her off the stage and disrupted the launch of the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone while President Zuma did absolutely nothing because he was not at the receiving end of this vicious treatment.  But the ANC refuted Zille’s claims, saying her “ranting shows she is nothing but an attention seeker”.

“We cannot help if the president is such a popular person on the West Coast. And that masses of people came to hear the president speak in Saldanha . We cannot help that it was an ANC government delivery that has taken place,” deputy International Relations Minister Marius Fransman said.

The ANC culture of booing by causing havoc and chaos is not particularly new as in December 2006, at the funeral of struggle hero Moses Mabhida in Pietermaritzburg where international guests were present; the crowd heckled and booed former president Thabo Mbeki as part of the campaign to prevent the then deputy president Zuma from facing prosecution on fraud charges.  Again in December 2011, ANC Youth League’s treasurer Pule Mabe was booed off the stage by Zuma supporters at the funeral of ANC national executive committee member Vusi Mhlongo in kwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal. Former President Thabo Mbeki was humiliated and booed by hostile Polokwane delegates in December 2007 at the ANC’s national conference. Jacob Zuma's trademark “Umshini wami” song was also the unofficial conference anthem, sung at every opportunity - including after Mbeki finished his more than two-hour-long political report-back.

ANC leaders such as Lindiwe Zulu and many others have said that those who booed President Jacob Zuma at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service “should be dealt with.” SA Communist Party secretary general, Blade Nzimande has also said that these people should be identified, named, shamed and ultimately expelled from the party. This witch hunt by Zuma's henchmen for dissenters is reminiscent of Joseph Stalin's elimination of political rivals in the 1920s - 1930s. Why were there no calls to punish those who booed former President Thabo Mbeki and burnt T-shirts bearing his face between 2006-2007? Why are double standards being applied in the ANC when it comes to President Jacob Zuma?

Zuma failed to make any attempt to eradicate this behaviour from its infants; just because it was done in his favour. Now it has grown out of control and has become a standard of voicing one’s displeasure in ANC structures and has been entrenched as ANC culture even during funeral proceedings. President Zuma has been in power for 4 years and 8 months and during his tenure the following has happened which gave rise to the booing that happened at the Nelson Mandela memorial:

• Disbanding of the Scorpions;

• Over 12 million people are unemployed and who do not qualify for social grants going to bed hungry every single day;

• Hiding of spy tapes;

• Killing of Andries Tatane by state police;

• Dysfunctional health department in the Eastern Cape;

• Unresolved arms deal corruption case;

• Landing of private jets by Gupta family;

• Forcing the e-Tolls system on us;

• R215million spending spree at his private resident in Nkandla;

• R30.8 billion which was fruitless and wasteful expenditure as per the Auditor General’s report due to corruption;

• Marikana massacre of 34 mineworkers; and

• Late textbook delivering for poor learners in Limpopo.

There is never really a good time to boo President Zuma but Nelson Mandela’s passing has made many South Africans including card carrying ANC members realise that we deserve better than Jacob Zuma. He is probably the worst that the ANC has to offer over all of its 100 years of existence. Nelson Mandela represented integrity, devotion and selflessness whereas Zuma represents greed, self-enrichment and corruption. Hence he was booed at FNB stadium.

Lastly, President Jacob Zuma buried the ANC Youth League which was founded by the likes of Nelson Mandela. In the same year President Jacob Zuma also buried Nelson Mandela. By the looks of thinks the real ANC was buried with Nelson Mandela in Qunu as the current ANC will not recall President Zuma but will protect him at all cost. Ultimately the "booers" shall govern  this country!!

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