Residents of Nkandla, where President Jacob Zuma’s homestead (pictured) is located, have commended him for his bravery in “fighting to the end” and are angry with the ANC for taking a decision to recall him. Pictures: Bongiwe Mchunu/ANA
Residents of Jacob Zuma’s village of KwaNxamalala, in Nkandla, have expressed anger and feelings of betrayal towards the ANC for his removal before the completion of his term.

Locals were happy that Zuma had shown bravery and fought “this injustice” to the end.

They have also vowed to boycott next year’s general elections over Zuma’s removal.

At Ntolwane Primary School, where Zuma votes, two women (maMkhize and maKhanyile) had one question for the ANC's NEC: “What has Zuma done?”

“The ANC trusted ubaba with leading this country. In 2014 when this party won elections they told us Zuma would be the president for five years. Today they are saying he can’t be president and they are not giving us a reason, we don’t trust them anymore,” said maMkhize.

While the women were aware of several allegations of corruption against the president, they maintained that was not a reason to recall him.
“Who is this person who wants power so badly that they are willing to betray their comrade and remove him by force?” maKhanyile asked.

She said that even if (Cyril) Ramaphosa took over, who said he would not be corrupt with money and power at his disposal.

“If the ANC recall presidents because of untested allegations, then it means they will remove this one (Ramaphosa). Even though he is everyone’s darling at the moment, he will be hated soon. Then I can’t trust the ANC with my vote,” maKhanyile added.

Bangile Mbambo said Zuma had done great work for the community and their hearts were hurt by his own party “betraying” him.

“We won’t vote for this Ramaphosa-ed ANC. They are treating Zuma like he is not one of their own, they are humiliating him.

“This Ramaphosa is starting things on the wrong foot, he’s going to feel the wrath of many people in the polls,” Mbambo said.

Khululiwe Mhlongo, a neighbour of Zuma, described him as a kind and humble man who was accessible.

“Whenever he is here, we can go and ask to see him. As busy as he is as president, he makes time to listen and help us,” she said.

Mhlongo said while she normally held a night vigil with her family on the night of an election; this time, she wouldn't even get up on the day of the election.

While the villagers waited with bated breath to find out what Zuma would do, most felt dejected.

Bhozasi Ndlovu said Zuma was not perfect, but neither was Ramaphosa.

“We love ubaba. Since he became president we have seen development in this area. We have electricity, tarred roads, and four schools were built during his tenure.

“He gave his life to the ANC, he risked death during apartheid and he is a man we respect because of what he has done for the country and the community,” Ndlovu said.

Life seemed to be going on normally in the village of KwaNxamalala, with women fetching water, some working in their vegetable gardens and villagers making their way to the nearby Lindela Tavern before midday.

Schoolchildren said they were upset over the ANC's decision. Residents were hostile and said they had had enough of media presence in the village.

But the few who agreed to open their hearts painted a grim picture of what they called “betrayal of ubaba”.

Many said the final nail in Zuma’s coffin had been hammered in by those he trusted, those he worked with and those he loved.

When Independent Media attempted to approach Khanya Zuma, the president’s brother and neighbour, a policeman and a security guard accused our photographer of trying to take a picture of Zuma’s compound, a national key point.

After much persuasion, the men allowed the team to buy cooldrinks at the famous Nkandla tuckshop.

There was no sign of maKhumalo, and the compound was quiet except for the lone employee at the tuckshop and two guards.