Thursday, April 28, 2011

ANC Prepares for Local Elections in South Africa

Zuma promises to sort out candidate lists later


President Jacob Zuma told unhappy ANC members during an election drive in Bloemfontein on Thursday to vote for the ANC and that problems with the candidate's list would be sorted out later.

Zuma was visiting the Khayelitsha informal settlement near Grasslands, in Bloemfontein, when local residents handed him a memorandum containing their grievances.

Speakers were given an opportunity to air their problems over the loudspeakers of the ANC's election truck before Zuma spoke.

One placard read: "We don't want your candidate". It was discreetly taken away and hidden by party members.

Speaking from the back of an ANC election truck, Zuma urged the gathering to be disciplined.

He told the cheering crowd, mostly in isiZulu, that the ANC would investigate their unhappiness with the election candidate lists and would come back to them after the elections.

Local residents were also unhappy about stands for houses in the area.

Thabo Ramolahloane (27) said the council had to make a plan for "pens" (stands), roads and electricity in the area.

"They must stop their propaganda, the ANC. Enough is enough." He said councillors had visited them during 2010 and made many promises which never materialised.

"No pens, no vote," he said.

Elias Qokoza (26) said he wanted a job. He criticised the council for using people outside his ward area to do work inside the ward.

"Hier is niks werk. [There are no jobs here]." Tshepo Sehloho (29) was very critical of the ANC's visit to the area.

"They want our vote, but we will not see them again [afterwards]," he said.

Zuma was accompanied by Free State premier Ace Magashule, outgoing Mangaung mayor Playfair Morule and various Free State MEC's.

Many party members in yellow T-shirts, waving flags praised the ANC and danced in the dirt road in front of the truck's stage.

Many came just to see "the People's President" and even children pushed and shoved to get a glimpse of Zuma.

A barefoot boy carried another on his shoulders in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the stage. Many residents passed cellphones to journalists, security and photographers to take Zuma's picture.

At the end of every gathering, Zuma's trademark song Umshini Wami' (bring me my machine gun) sounded.

In a visit to the Mapikela House in Batho, Zuma told the crowd outside that they were "bound to vote ANC" because of the party's origins in Bloemfontein.

If development has not reached them yet, "it was coming, it was just a matter of time", he told them. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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Zuma: SA has done 'exceptionally well' since 1994

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA Apr 27 2011 14:15

President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday spoke of how proud he was at the "substantial progress" South Africa has made since 1994, in comparison with other countries that deteriorated after liberation.

"We have done exceptionally well against all odds, in only 17 years," Zuma said at Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

He spoke of the importance of Chapter 9 institutions like the office of the Public Protector and the Human Rights Commission, which formed part of available mechanisms to ensure that apartheid never recurred.

He urged South Africans not allow anyone or any grouping in society to reverse the gains of the country's hard-won democracy.

This day, he said, marked the celebration of a freedom and democracy obtained through the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices of scores of freedom fighters and ordinary South Africans.

"We must therefore commit ourselves to not allow anyone or any grouping or structure in our society to trivialise our freedom or to reverse the gains of our hard-won democracy."

He recalled how, a few years ago, people lived in a country whose system of government was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations.

He also spoke of the pain caused by the legacy of apartheid that stripped away the dignity of millions of South Africans. Referring to the Group Areas Act of 1950, which designated residential areas according to race, Zuma said the scars caused by forced removals remain to this day.

The government was attempting to reverse the impact, he said.

"Thousands more still bear the psychological scars of being bundled into Bantustans or so-called homelands."

'You are disrespecting me'
Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance MP Sej Motau was heckled and howled at while delivering his speech at the Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings on Wednesday.

Motau briefly stopped speaking and observed the crowd when the howling by hundreds of people attending the event grew louder.

Many made the hand signal used at soccer matches to indicate player substitutions, demanding that he move off stage.

However, the programme director for the day, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, took to the podium and interjected, with his first words being: "No, no, no."

"Please, let's allow speakers to say a few words and sit. This heckling is taking a lot of our time," said Mashatile.

A lot of moaning followed from the crowd, at which time Mashatile said Motau would only take one second.

Motau hastily made his concluding remarks, highlighting the importance of having days like Freedom Day, Youth Day and Reconciliation Day to build and unite the nation, before leaving the stage.

He was not the only victim.

The Inkatha Freedom Party's Oscar Maseko also had to endure heckling.

Mashatile scolded the crowd for their lack of discipline.

"If you continue howling, people, you are disrespecting me as programme director."

No other speaker was heckled off stage after that.

Instead, they were received warmly by the crowd. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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