Zuma was addressing hundreds of ANC members and supporters during a Youth Day commemoration at Hammarsdale stadium, west of Durban, on Sunday where he talked about other social ills including crime against women and children.
The event was organised by the eThekwini Municipality.
Also in attendance were ANC national treasurer Zweli Mkhize and Public Works Minister Nathi Nhleko, among others.
Supporters broke into song as the president made his way to the podium.
“The economic question is dividing the nation hence the need to understand that political freedom without the economy is not complete freedom. With that we have to deal with the land issue. We must, however, deal with it within the confines of the law. All constitutions can be amended, so if our constitution does not address the land issue, then it can be amended,” Zuma said to applause from the crowd.
He said young people needed to be at the forefront of radical economic transformation, adding that in the history of the ANC young people have always had a pivotal role to play.
“In the Struggle against apartheid young people had played a role at all levels. Nelson Mandela and Chris Hani were young people when they got involved in the Struggle,” he said.
The warm welcome the president received was in stark contrast to the booing he received in the North West province last week.
Zuma said to achieve economic transformation the youth needed to go beyond acquiring junior degrees and learn some skills.
Further, he felt the fight against women and children abuse could not be won even if there were more police officers on the roads.
“We need more young people to form community forums to defeat crime. We can have as many police officers but crime cannot be defeated by police alone. Even when you arrest a criminal you must explain that I’m arresting you because you are suspected to have committed a crime,” he said.
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede also encouraged the youth to get an education.
“You have disappointed those who thought you were the born-free generation without direction. We have set aside R36.8 million for the training of young people post-matric. We also have budgeted R4.5 million for fire fighting and lifeguard training while we are also taking on 943 young people to be trained as plumbers. This will decrease the delays in burst pipe attendance,” Gumede said.