Jacob Zuma: people have the power to oust the president

Former president Jacob Zuma delivered his speech during a Human Rights Day commemoration rally in Umlazi in Durban. Photo by Boitumelo Pakkies/ANA

Former president Jacob Zuma delivered his speech during a Human Rights Day commemoration rally in Umlazi in Durban. Photo by Boitumelo Pakkies/ANA

Published Mar 22, 2023


Durban — Citizens have the right to remove government leaders from power even before their term of office has expired, former president Jacob Zuma says.

Last month, Zuma was elected as the chairperson of the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in KwaZulu-Natal.

On Tuesday was his first public address as chairperson when he told a packed hall of civic members, in Umlazi, south of Durban, that they were not using their rights to the fullest to hold government leaders accountable yet they always complained.

Several hundred people had gathered in the township to commemorate Human Rights Day.

In what could be viewed as an endorsement of the national shutdown to force President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down, Zuma told the crowd that since it was the people who voted the government into power, they had the right to tell that government to dissolve and call for early elections so that they can elect a new president who listens to the voices of the people.

“There are a lot of things we must talk about. We will need to have a series of meetings where we must discuss a lot of things that the government is doing without consulting us.

“We need to teach one another who really owns State-Owned Enterprises and whether the government has a right to sell these SOEs without our knowledge.

“It is not correct that citizens only know their rights when they go and vote every five years. We must ask ourselves what happens to our rights in-between elections. People have a right to remove leaders even before their terms expire.”

Zuma said people allowed politicians to pass laws in Parliament without their involvement, saying in one of the meetings with locals he was asked why the government passed the law that allowed same-sex marriage.

Zuma said people said they were not consulted and had the government consulted them they would have rejected the law.

He urged Sanco that since the people were the real owners of SOEs the organisation must ask former Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter to reveal the names of those who were milking the power utility by R1 billion a month.

The former CEO shocked many during his exclusive interview with e.tv when he said some senior ANC politicians were drawing a billion rand a month from Eskom but despite calls to name them the former CEO was yet to name the politicians.

Zuma said as much as Sanco was in alliance with the ANC, that did not mean people from other parties should not join.

He thanked Sanco for electing him as chairperson and vowed to build the organisation to be a strong voice that would not fear to face elected leaders.

The former president also expressed his fear that the ANC might lose power in next year’s elections, likening it to a dark cloud similar to the one that befell the party in 1960 when it was banned from organising political activities in the country. He said he was glad to find an opportunity to join Sanco again because when the ANC was banned the leaders were told to join civic movements in their towns, but before he could join he was recruited to join the underground armed struggle which resulted in the formation of uMkhonto we Sizwe.

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