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Durban - The SACP in KwaZulu-Natal has called for an enactment of a law to protect the office of the president following what it called a “barrage of insults directed at President Jacob Zuma”.
SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said discussions on this had been prompted by some of the attacks on the president, including the way in which he was portrayed in the infamous painting, The Spear.
But such an act would not mean that a sitting president would be free from scrutiny and criticism. “We are saying you can criticise the president but some respect needs to be given to the leader of the state whether it is Zuma or not. You cannot have people who wake up and say things to insult the president,” Mthembu said.
On Saturday the party would march in Zuma’s hometown, Nkandla, to show support for the development under way in that area.
Mthembu said the purpose of the march was to demand that development in rural areas be respected and fast-tracked.
The march follows the unsuccessful visit to Nkandla by DA leader Helen Zille last week.
The DA leader had planned to inspect the planned development in Nkandla, including the roads, a new town development and the security upgrades to the president’s residence.
Mthembu said Zille’s “Hollywood style visit” to Nkandla was nothing but a cheap publicity stunt by the opposition party.
“We demand that the people of Nkandla not be discriminated against in government programmes to develop rural areas simply because they have the president as one of their residents.”
On the upgrades to Zuma’s residence, the SACP said it was only concerned about the costs – and welcomed a decision to probe whether prices may have been inflated.
But Mthembu defended the upgrades.
“If the house was in Ballito, Sandton or Constantia, there would not have been so much noise. We only hear this noise because the president chose to stay at Nkandla.”
Mthembu also lashed out at opposition parties that wanted to pass a vote of no confidence in Zuma.
He said the SACP believed that such a move was meant to boost a faction in the ANC that had been calling for Zuma’s removal.