Service protests don't spell ANC demise - Zuma
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has cast doubt on the ability of ANC branches to identify and warn the government of imminent service delivery protests in their areas of operation.
Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation on Monday in a television interview, Zuma expressed concern at increasing service delivery protests.
Zuma effectively argued that branches did not carry out political work and that this contributed to frequent outbreaks of violent protests.
But the president maintained that his concern did not spell danger for his and the ANC's political future.
"I wonder what kind of political work do they do to identify the problems and to help the government to be aware as to what needs to be done.
"What are the areas (of service) that need to be identified because the degree of the problems are not the same (everywhere)."
Zuma's pronouncements follow on recommendations made at the ANC's national policy conference of the need to have ward-based branches in each of the country's estimated 20000 voting districts.
Delegates identified this strategy as key to maintaining existing support among the electorate while also garnering new membership.
On the controversial arms deal, Zuma maintained his innocence, adding that he does not need to clear his name over long-standing allegations that he improperly influenced the deal.
The president pointed out that he was still a "provincial minister" in KwaZulu-Natal when the deal was signed and that this factor exonerated him of any wrongdoing.
"There is nothing to clear my name on. Absolutely nothing. I'm sure it's just politicking, that's all. You would know that it was an issue that was raised some time ago ... and I was never involved in the process of the arms deal.
"I was still an MEC, a provincial minister. I was not even in the national (government) so I never got involved.
"There were allegations and these allegations could not stick."
Corruption charges against Zuma were dropped in 2009 after the National Prosecuting Authority came across the so-called spy tapes, in which former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy and former prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka allegedly conspired over the timing of the charges laid against Zuma.
Zuma reminded the viewers that he had instituted an inquiry into the controversial arms deal "to investigate everything", saying this indicated that "I've got no corruption to clear".
On the R2-billion presidential jet scandal: "Travels of the president are the responsibility of the defence (department).
"And I haven't sat down to discuss any plane and amount.
"If I entered (the fray) to answer any question without knowing all the details, I think I would be doing the wrong thing." - firstname.lastname@example.org