Zuma throwns down the gauntlet on detractors

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has slated his detractors who think they knew better about ANC policies and leadership, warning that the party must not be pushed too far.

Without mentioning any names, Zuma said all this criticism directed at leadership would eventually culminate in an angry revolt.

"They are talking about us in the wrong way ... We don't want to tell or remind people where they come from. They see us laughing and they think we don't get angry ... we got angry with the apartheid regime, very angry."

He was speaking at Nehawu's policy discussion meeting in Boksburg yesterday.

Zuma said the democracy he and other leaders fought for and ushered in a new era in which everyone wants to shape the nature of the country and determine everything else. "They give themselves the privilege position of knowing the policy and the quality of leadership more than us," he told delegates who applauded in agreement.

"We shaped and determined the nature and time of this revolution ... Now because of freedom, everyone wants to shape the nature and direction of this country."

Zuma questioned where were these "clever" people when he was fighting for what his detractors say they know better today.

Expelled ANC Youth League Julius president Julius Malema was among those that have criticised Zuma's leadership, comparing it to that of a dictator.

Zuma reiterated his call for workers to swell the ranks of the ANC, saying the revolution was at a crossroad where names were seen to be more important that the actual task at hand, such as addressing issues of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

He said the focus on individuals at elective conferences needed to be nipped in the bud and encouraged union members to go to Mangaung in December with that mindset.

Zuma's address gave particular focus to the ANC's draft policy on the second transition, which tackles long term problems that the organisation and the country faced.

The issue of transformation was one that needs urgent attention, as it was central to the development of the country, he said.

"We must debate what type of economy do we need ... there may be resources, but they are in the hands of a few. This is an issue we don't need to use slogans about.

"The structuring of the apartheid economy had remained intact, it doesn't allow for a higher inclusive growth," Zuma said.

The ANCYL has consistently called for the nationalisation of strategic sectors of the economy such as mines and banks, as being the only solution to an equal society.

Zuma has differed in this regard; saying nationalisation of mines was not government policy. - nhlabathih@sowetan.co.za