Johannesburg – Hundreds of President Jacob Zuma’s loyal supports came out in their numbers to help him celebrate his 75th birthday in Kliptown, Soweto.
Those in attendance included some of his loyal allies within the ANC, including Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Deputy Defence Minster Kebby Maphatsoe and ANC deputy general secretary Jessie Duarte.
Many used the opportunity to shower the president with praises of well wishes and singing songs for him not to be perturbed by his detractors.
The crowds included ANC supporters from Mpumalanga, Free State, North West and Gauteng.
In the past weeks, the president has been faced by growing calls for him to resign, with opposition parties having organised the National Day of Action on Wednesday to put pressure on him to step down.
Zuma was pulled forward during one of the songs and danced along with those in attendance.
The ANC’s alliance partners, including Cosatu boss President S'dumo Dlamini whose federation called for Zuma to resign, stepped on stage and wished Zuma a happy birthday.
“I know the workers of this country want to wish you a happy birthday,” said Dlamini.
But it was ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini who launched an attack on Zuma’s detractors, saying she has never seen someone as strong as Zuma, considering the number of “attacks’’ he has faced in Parliament.
Dlamini also took swipe at the Democratic Alliance for saying the ANC was no longer the same, and instead praised Zuma for learning from the likes of Oliver Tambo and protecting the organisation.
She also bemoaned the series of protests that have taken place since last Friday calling for Zuma to step down, Dlamini commented on the protests that have been taking place outside the Gupta’s compound in Saxonworld.
ANC Youth League general secretary Njabulo Nzuza promised Zuma that the “young lions” of the youth league would avail themselves to protect its leader.
Meanwhile the ANC’s Jessie Duarte praised the president for his recent cabinet reshuffle and said those appointed had "a lot to learn from him.”
“Thanks for showing us that anger does not feed hungry minds. Thank you for leading a fairly young cabinet of people with the will to take the country forward. Every day and night they will learn that from you,” said Duarte, followed by loud cheers from the crowd.
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