'Nine wasted years' claim is political dishonesty: Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma, in the middle, with ANC leaders, Jessie Duarte, Gwede Mantashe, Baleka Mbete, Cyril Ramaphosa and Zweli Mkhize. Zuma has lashed out at ANC leaders who are saying his nine years as the country's president were a waste.
Former president Jacob Zuma, in the middle, with ANC leaders, Jessie Duarte, Gwede Mantashe, Baleka Mbete, Cyril Ramaphosa and Zweli Mkhize. Zuma has lashed out at ANC leaders who are saying his nine years as the country's president were a waste.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Former president Jacob Zuma has taken a swipe at his successor Cyril Ramaphosa, saying the latter's reference to his time in government as "nine lost years" was political dishonesty.

Ramaphosa made the statement during his speech in Davos last week and his finanace minister, Tito Mboweni, made similar comments, something that has not sat well with Zuma.

In a video interview this week, Zuma criticised both Ramaphosa and Mboweni, citing a number of projects he championed in government, including the rollout of antiretrovirals, the national development plan and the more than a trillion rand infrastructure project under his leadership.

He explained that the comments were not good for the ANC during an election campaign as they implied that the ANC had failed - and he likened them to an attack on the party.

"Why should then a leader say this is a wasted thing, we’re now cleaning this mess? I think it is dishonest… political dishonesty. Also it’s something that I don’t understand. Firstly not to even raise the matter within the structures of the organisation to say ‘we did not do well here’. Just to attack the ANC government in public being ANC leaders. I think it’s a problem," said Zuma.

Zuma maintained that his government had come with clear programmes including the "oceans economy" and split the education department, a move he explained was meant to give focus to the foundation phase.

"To help clear the air on the nine years I must give a report of what we did. Which should be unfortunate because I may be compelled to do so as a person who was the leader of the ANC and government.

"These utterances, these statements are saying in actual fact… saying to people ‘guys we, the ANC, we failed, we were wasting things in the nine years but please vote for us’. You can’t say when you’re approaching the vote.

"Because people can’t vote you for failing them. Instead of highlighting things that were done, I don’t understand. That’s why my view is that this must be in a sense influenced by things that I might not even know," added Zuma.

He said it was incorrect information that nothing happened during his nine years in government.

"I don’t understand, absolutely. I think it must stop because it is not helping. It is actually making us to begin to argue about this in public. I think it is not absolutely correct and I am not going to keep quiet because at that time I had the responsibility of leading the ANC and government. That’s why particularly when I heard what Tito said I thought it was important to correct this," added Zuma.

He said some people were making him a scapegoat for everything that had gone wrong and he was being made out as the "number one corrupt" man in the country.


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