Pretoria - South Africans are psychologically “sick” as a result of the violence inflicted upon the majority of the country’s people during the apartheid era, President Jacob Zuma said in his Freedom Day address on Monday.
In a barb aimed at the Economic Freedom Fighters, Zuma said minority rule created a culture of violence that was now manifesting itself in Parliament.
“Look at the institution that is said to be the apex of democracy – Parlirment. Look at the politicians whom you voted for, how angry they are. How defiant they are in Parliament,” he said to applause from a large crowd gathered at the Union Buildings.
“Parliament is one of the most respected institutions. One of the powerful officers is the speaker. Even if the speaker is not right, if the speaker says ‘out of my house’, you must get out.”
Instead, he said, MPs defied the presiding officer and spoke out of turn.
“That is a glaring example of the nature of apartheid culture of violence that is left with us. It’s not just with ordinary people, it’s even in Parliament. We need to be cured. We’re sick,” said Zuma.
“We have a problem which we need to address. All of us.”
Zuma added that it was improper for a political party to dress in a manner depicting the subjugation of Africans.
“We have been working hard in this country, going down in the mines. There is a particular uniform we dress in. We put on helmets because of the danger underground. It’s not a nice thing.
He said even pinafores worn by domestic workers undermines them.
“You wear a pinafore even if you are a man or woman. It’s not nice. You can’t say you are fighting for poor people and then demonstrate the kind of wear that undermines.”
“You can’t say it’s the most objective view that you are expressing. You’re sick, absolutely. If you don’t know the lives of Africans, you can do that thing,” said Zuma.
He said most Africans did not like to use such degrading attire because of its connotations.
“On weekends, we put on our best because now we are really dignified. That (attire) is bringing us back …,” said Zuma.