Zuma’s going nowhere yet

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.Picture: Reuters

Riding off into the sunset is not part of President Jacob Zuma’s immediate plans – on the contrary he is looking at completing his term as South Africa’s third democratically elected president.

He stated this unambiguously at the The New Age post-state of the nation address business briefing on Friday when he was asked if he would step down.

A relaxed Zuma also decried the attempts by the EFF to stop him from officially opening Parliament the previous evening and also referred to that party as an angry minority.

Editor-in-Chief of The New Age, Moegsien Williams, in welcoming Zuma assured him that he was in a quieter environment.

“I can assure you you’ll speak uninterrupted. You gave us renewed confidence about the direction of our country,” Williams said.

Zuma laughed when it was suggested in a question that he should step down for the sake of peace.

“For peace’s sake with who? I’m asking that question because Nelson Mandela was attacked by the opposition, by forces opposed to the ANC. He once called opposition parties Mickey Mouse parties and they were angry.

“They have never stopped,” Zuma said.

Even Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, did not escape the opposition’s vitriol. According to Zuma, Mbeki was viciously attacked.

“Then Mbeki left and Zuma came. He is still in the process of being attacked. The ANC is a big organisation, and opposition parties want to reduce it. Not just the opposition here, but some forces globally.

“I can tell you very soon in a matter of less than three years I will be out. There will be a new president here.

“That president will be attacked. It will not be the individual.”

Zuma said the strategy against the ANC was to kill the organisation by going for its leaders.

“If you want to kill a snake hit the head. That’s where they hit. I’m a very kind fellow. I don’t bite very much. Why would people fight Zuma, really?’’

Of his own legacy, Zuma said he was not working on his, but the ANC’s legacy.

“I’m not working for my legacy. I’m working for the ANC, for the legacy of the ANC. Ever since my young age when I joined the ANC I knew exactly what I was doing. I’ve never one day stopped and said, ‘what is going to be my legacy?’ That’s not what I work for. What is going to be the ANC’s legacy? That is what I work on all the time.”

He was asked if the attempted disruption of Sona was symbolic of the state of the nation. Zuma said he thought that the nation had not unpacked that element seriously. What was reflected in Parliament were the actions of a party that only represented 6% of voters, he said.

“We are dealing with people who had quarrels with their colleagues and thought they needed to fight these people. They must be trying their level best to fight back.”

Without mentioning the EFF by name, he said this party’s members claimed that they respected the Constitution yet in Parliament they undermined the choice of the majority of the people.

“We have an angry minority in this country who thrive on this kind of attitude. They are changing Parliament. They are changing democracy. Democracy is not about angry young people . They are not respecting their colleagues or voters.”