Thohoyandou, Limpopo - President Jacob Zuma has dismissed disgruntled former ANC stalwarts Ronnie Kasrils and Nosizwe Madlala-Routledge as lost one-time revolutionaries.a
During an election drive in Limpopo on Wednesday, Zuma hit back at the two former cabinet ministers for campaigning against the ANC.
“Don’t listen when those who were revolutionaries today talk about spoiling votes. They are lost,” Zuma told an audience in a community hall in Thohoyandou.
Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge have urged voters to snub the ANC in the May 7 elections.
The two leaders launched their “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote no!” campaign on Tuesday as a platform to show disquiet against their party.
They lamented the current state of the ANC, suggesting that, under Zuma, the party and the country had regressed.
But on Wednesday, Zuma told party loyalists that things had improved under his leadership.
“In 20 years we have gained experience of how to run a government; in fact we are better now,” he said.
He took a swipe at opposition parties, saying they lacked new ideas.
Zuma said they were obsessed with the ANC manifesto instead of telling voters about their own.
He said the ANC was the only party that had the interests of all sectors of society.
“Other parties are remnants of apartheid, some pieces of it put together,” said Zuma.
“Others are parties that disagreed with some of the ANC policies; others were misbehaving in the ANC, and the ANC chased them out and they formed angry parties,” he said.
Zuma told his audience that the ANC, as a national liberation movement, had emancipated all sectors of society, including religious groups and the media.
He claimed the ANC was the only party that could bring about economic freedom.
Later, Zuma went to Malamulele township, where pandemonium broke out after he addressed angry residents.
The community had expected Zuma to immediately declare that Malamulele would be granted its own municipality separate from the Thohoyandou-based Thulamela municipality.
Malamulele residents went on the rampage last year, burning properties and barricading roads, demanding their own council.
But, Zuma said, processes needed to be followed.
He said their grievances would be resolved, but urged them not to riot.
“I can’t on my own come here and take a decision. I am not a dictator,” Zuma said, prompting unhappy residents to walk out of the stadium while he was still talking.
Shortly before Zuma spoke, ANC security personnel slapped a man in the face and dragged him out of the crowd for booing when speakers mentioned the president’s name.
There was a slight confrontation between police and rowdy youths who tried to barricade the road outside the stadium with bricks and tyres as Zuma’s convoy was leaving.