Zuma calms down farmers over land
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday distanced the ruling party from ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema's private views on land distribution
Zuma was responding to concerns raised by the Greytown farming community over comments made by Malema last year that land earmarked for redistribution could be taken away without payment if they (farmers) did not accept the money offered for it.
"What Malema said is neither the ANC's nor the government's policy," Zuma said yesterday while on an election campaign trail at impoverished Msinga, in the Greytown area of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
"Malema is on a learning curve and the farming community must not be shaken by his comments .
"There was a similar concern when the ANCYL had an idea about the nationalisation of mines. We allowed that to be discussed and debated in the ANC because it had been previously debated many decades before when Nelson Mandela came out of prison.
"The nationalisation of mines was also discussed and we came (up) with a mixed economy policy. The ANC does not take policy (decisions) emotionally," Zuma added.
Earlier, Michael Yeadon, a community leader who represented farmers in the Greytown area, told Zuma that Malema was a "very scary man" within the community.
After assuring farmers that their land would not be taken from them, Zuma urged farmers, the business community and local traditional leaders to vote for the ANC in next Wednesday's local government elections because "it is the only party that has the clear understanding of the needs of the people".
He said there had been calls that people must vote for other parties to create a strong opposition, but he believed that good policies were more important than the size of political parties.
Zuma said education was a priority for the ANC as there was a need for skills in the country.
"Without education, we will remain a developing state."
He also challenged business people to play their part in prioritising the national priority of job creation.
Greytown and Msinga have been under the control of the IFP since the first local government elections in 1996. Development in the area has been almost non-existent.
At Nhlalakahle, also in the Msinga area, Zuma yesterday used the metaphor of love relationships to talk the community into voting.
"Boyfriends and girlfriends should make their appointments on the voting stations on May 18. Girlfriends should make sure that their boyfriends vote for the ANC and boyfriends should ensure that their girlfriends vote for the ANC."
At Pomeroy he promised that after the community had "voted for the ANC" next week, they would see actual delivery.