‘Democracy is not court’: Zuma

 ·5 Jun 2016

President Jacob Zuma has urged South Africans not to vote for opposition parties because they do not have experience to govern the country.

Addressing thousands of ANC supporters who almost filled the 43,000 seat Mbombela Stadium at the provincial launch of the ANC’s local government election manifesto in Mbombela Stadium on Sunday, Zuma, who is also president of the governing party, deviated from his written speech to take a swipe at the opposition parties, saying they have nothing to offer the voters.

“How could you vote for people who do not know whether they are coming or going? They’ve got nothing except their voices. They are smaller, they’ve never ruled any country. They’ve got no experience. That’s why they resort to insults at times,” said Zuma.

He also said that the opposition parties resort to courts of law to circumvent democracy.

“Every day they go to court. They can’t argue any issue. Only the judges must argue for their point. They even threaten, ‘We will go to court.’ Democracy is not court. [It] is correct ideas that must influence the citizens to support you. It’s correct policies and programmes. It’s respect, taking seriously your citizens including the opposition,” he said.

Mabuza ignored

Before Zuma started his speech, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, who is the provincial chairperson, appealed to the crowds to be silent during the presentation of the speech, but his appeals fell on deaf ears, as supporters made noise throughout Zuma’s speech.

At one point, Mabuza left his seat from the stage and personally signalled to some of the supporters to quieten down, but returned to his seat when the media started taking pictures of him.

Meanwhile, Zuma continued with his barrage of criticism on the opposition.

“Voting for a person who does not know what he will do once voted… They just go and disrupt parliament with your vote. We will fix all of that. Voters should know that if they love themselves and their country, they should vote for a South Africa that moves forward,” he said.

Zuma accused the opposition parties, whose names he claimed he could not remember, of delaying the passing of laws in parliament.

“Don’t be misled by people. There are others who do not understand how South Africa is like. There are others who were recently calling us monkeys. Do you think they’d take you seriously when you call yourself their leader? You’re a mere toy, a spanner that they use to turn and unlock opportunities for themselves,” Zuma said.


He downplayed the discontentment in the nomination of ANC councillors for the local government elections taking place on August 3 this year, calling it democracy at play.

“People misunderstand our democratic culture. When some of our comrades complain about being taken out of the lists – that’s democracy at play. People have got freedom to raise their concerns,” He said.

Zuma said that the ANC is the only organisation that has the capacity to improve the living conditions of the people of South Africa.

“The ANC is the only organisation that can truly unite all our people across race, colour class, culture and religion to build a united and cohesive society. The African National Congress, the liberator of our people. We liberate everyone, even the oppressors. The ANC is ready, able and determined to improve the performance of local government for our people. The ANC is ready, able and determined to serve our people better in the next five years. The ANC is ready, able and determined to respond and listen to make South Africa a better place for all,” he said.

Halfway through his speech, many people had left their seats and only returned when he started singing his famous anthem, “Yinde lendlela esiy’ hambayo”, loosely translated, meaning “it is a long road to freedom”.


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