In a hard-hitting speech yesterday, the president called on South Africans to “isolate those who want to introduce a new culture of thuggery and hooliganism in our country”.
Though he did not mention them by name i t was clear to the people at Durban’s Kings Park Stadium, most of them ANC supporters, that he was referring to Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters.
Zuma was presiding at a poorly attended National Prayer Day for unity, peace, rain and successful local government elections.
He said that the government had built 795 schools since 2009 at a cost of R23-billion. It had also built three universities and 12 technical education colleges.
“It causes us and all freedom-loving South Africans a lot of pain and disappointment to see such important infrastructure being destroyed,” he said.
Several educational institutions have been destroyed or badly damaged in recent weeks, causing hundreds of millions of rands in damage.
In Vuwani, in Limpopo, more than 20 schools were burned down during violent protests earlier this month.
In February, protesters at the University of Cape Town made a bonfire of paintings they had taken from the Fuller and Smuts residences.
Days later, students ran amok at the University of North West and razed the science building.
Buildings were also burned at Fort Hare and at the University of Johannesburg.
There were arson attacks at the Vaal University of Technology.
EFF members were accused of starting the UJ fire – a claim the party’s student wing denied.
“Our people should condemn leaders and organisations that preach and promote violence. Nobody must turn our youth into instruments of destruction and use them to destroy property, including facilities that are aimed at building their future, to further their political ends,” Zuma said yesterday, adding that the young should not be led astray.
“[The young] must respect their parents, respect one another, respect authority and respect the laws of their country,” he said.
“When we disagree, whether at home, school or work, we must do so respectfully and not lose our humanity or ubuntu. In all our homes and places of worship, let us pray for the return of that culture of respect among all our people.”
In reaction yesterday, EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi accused Zuma of being the “No 1 leader of violence”.
“It’s his government that killed workers in Marikana. God is not a thing to play around [with], to lie to. Hypocrites pray in public but kill people during the day.”
About 8000 people attended the prayer day.
The event was moved from Moses Mabhida Stadium to Kings Park. It is believed this was because the ANC could not get enough people to fill Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The National Prayer Day, organised by the Department of Social Development, resembled an ANC rally, with thousands of those attending sporting ANC T-shirts in stark contrast to a few hundred people in white, who barely filledone section of the stadium.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu’s absence at the event has fuelled rumours that he is on his way out of the province’s most powerful office.
Mchunu apparently went to ground as news of his probable axing broke. His spokesman, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said yesterday that Mchunu had another engagement and had asked transport and community safety and liaison MEC Willies Mchunu to step in for him at the event.
“He asked MEC Willies Mchunu to represent him. The premier has another engagement and is apologetic that he is unable to attend,” Sibiya said.
Rumours of impending cabinet changes have refused to go away since the ANC’s new provincial executive committee was elected late last year. It has long been speculated that Mchunu is among those facing the axe.
Source: Times Live