President Jacob Zuma yesterday blasted critics of his nuclear plans, firing a salvo at the SACP and also warning against those “working with foreign agents within the ANC”.
Zuma, fresh from another tough parliamentary question session last week, launched into his detractors on nuclear plans even as Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said the country could not afford a nuclear programme in the near future.
Zuma told a crowd in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg, that the infighting in the ANC in the run-up to its national conference in December was also influenced from outside.
Zuma gave a long history of where the nuclear issue began.
According to Zuma, the apartheid government was instructed by Western governments to get rid of nuclear so that the ANC government, which was viewed as communist because of support from the Soviet Union, would not have such a capability.
“When we came back (from exile) to start negotiations, the Western countries said South Africa had nuclear. Get rid of it because it will not be right for these communists to have this power when they are in government.
"The issue of nuclear comes from there; get rid of the bombs you have so that they (the ANC) don’t get the knowledge of working on nuclear,” he said.
“I hear people talking and others supporting not knowing the meaning of this thing (nuclear). We don’t want nuclear, in other words in the balance of forces you support the wrong force,” Zuma added, to applause from the crowd gathered at the Mogale City community hall.
Zuma also warned against those he said were sleeping with foreign agents to target him.
He said foreign agents were meddling in the affairs of the ANC because they wanted to take control of and influence Africa.
Zuma, in a long lecture on the “balance of forces”, said some of the leaders in the running to replace him were working with people from outside the country and ANC.
Zuma did not spare the SACP, saying the alliance between the ANC and the SACP was bigger than individuals.
This could be interpreted as a swipe at the SACP and its leader Blade Nzimande, whom Zuma recently fired from the cabinet.
“It must not be that our wishes and our happiness or irritation make us see that we are above the alliance as individuals or groupings. The alliance means a lot and all of us need each other,” he said.