Durban - President Jacob Zuma has called for ANC members to emulate him, saying he was a “political genius” who liberated the country and founded the ANC political school in Robben Island.
He also spoke about how he defied the late prominent SA Communist Party leader, Harry Gwala, over how they should solve political differences between the ANC and IFP during the last dark days of apartheid rule in the country.
At the time the IFP wanted South Africa to become a federal state after the first democratic elections in 1994, while the ANC favoured a unitary state.
Zuma said Gwala was opposed to peaceful negotiations to break the impasse. “He only wanted killings,” he said.
The president made the remarks during the ANC Youth League’s economic freedom lecture event held at the Durban City Hall on Sunday night.
He bragged about how he managed to reduce the IFP support into a tiny margin, in a province once regarded as its stronghold.
“I was taking away what the IFP had been using to control the province. Before, when you do traditional dance you would be seen as IFP person. Where is the IFP today? It is so tiny," said Zuma.
He characterised himself as a “genius of politics” as he also taught it on Robben Island where he served 10 years for fighting the oppressive apartheid regime.
“It (ANC’s political education) was formed by five people: Riot Mkhwanazi, Alfred Duma, Sazi Ngcongo, Msizeni Shadrack Maphumulo and Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. It is how it started for the Robben Island to be a political school. It is because we knew that it was important to know politics,” the president said.
For his peaceful efforts between the ANC and IFP, Zuma recalled how Gwala would mock him and call him names. “I only wanted to protect ANC people from killing each other. I would just say, ‘this one (Gwala) has time to play’, which I did not have. I am liberating this country,” he said.
The president said ANC members should be like him and “know the politics instead of guessing it”, and spoke about he managed to reduce the IFP’s hegemony by penetrating the Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, through attending Shaka's Day, a ceremony some ANC leaders thought of as an IFP event.
He also managed to “convince” IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s speechwriter Walter Felgate to join the ANC, a move which “shocked” the ANC national leadership.
"We said ANC is people's organisation so we do not discriminate. It is for all South Africans, and our duty is to win enemies to join the ANC. You cannot win them when you hate them," he said.
Meanwhile, Zuma said he wanted to become mayor of his hometown Nkandla when his term as president ended in 2019. Nkandla is currently run by the IFP, something the president would like to change for good.
"There is nothing saying since you have been a president you cannot accept when the party deploys you to be the councillor.
"If the ANC could say Zuma ‘Nkandla had been problematic, campaign to be the mayor’, what would stop me? People of Nkandla would say, ‘Zuma now wants to be a councillor’ and vote for me, and ANC would take over," he said.