Durban - Supporters of former president Jacob Zuma are planning to hold celebrations at Nkandla to welcome him home after his resignation as head of state.
Zuma’s supporters, who are still hurt over his unceremonious departure from the Presidency last week, said they were proud that he had placed Nkandla and KwaZulu-Natal on the world map.
Zuma was first recalled by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), before he was forced to resign, following the ANC’s parliamentary caucus decision to endorse a motion of no confidence which forced his hand.
The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal task team co-ordinator, Sihle Zikalala, said the provincial leadership would organise the event.
But the local ANC leaders said they, together with the community leaders of Nxamalala Village, had already planned a separate event, and were waiting for the date of Zuma’s return.
“As soon as he arrives with his luggage we will throw him a welcoming celebration,” said the former ANC ward councillor in Zuma’s branch, Sbongiseni Bhengu.
Zikalala said in a statement that ANC structures in the province were looking forward to welcoming Zuma.
“As the province of KwaZulu-Natal, we will be hosting welcome home celebrations for president Zuma to thank him for his 60 years of revolutionary service to the people of the country.
“We call upon all the people from all sectors of society to join us as we thank this son of the soil. As the ANC, we will be even richer with his wisdom and experience, and we’ll always seek his guidance.
“We are happy with the solid legacy and foundation he has laid,” said Zikalala.
Bhengu said the local structure and community were waiting to hear when Zuma would be coming home to spend time with them.
“We want to say to him ‘welcome home, baba’, you have worked for South Africa.
“We will gather on the day of his arrival and throw him a party. We will say ‘welcome home’, because this time he will be coming home for good.
“We want to thank him for the work he has done for South Africa,” said Bhengu.
As president, Zuma would frequently visit his home region to host traditional ceremonies, which he enjoyed with local community members.
Bhengu said Zuma’s homecoming was different, because “this time he is coming to live with us, since he is no longer the president”.
But the leaders in Zuma’s home region of Musa Dladla were awaiting an official mandate to organise the party.
Regional secretary Tholi Gwala also said the ANC in Zuma’s branch should wait for the mandate from the higher structures before proceeding with its plans for the homecoming.
“We are the ones who should be guiding them. It is fine for the community, but not the ANC branch,” Gwala said.
During a media briefing yesterday, the regional leadership commended Zuma for outstandingly representing his home region as the president of the ANC and the country.
“President Zuma served the country with distinction, and as his home region, we wish to thank him for the continued support his foundation gave to the people of Nkandla during the festive season.
“And we are hopeful that he will continue serving the poor people in our community until his last breath,” the leadership said in a statement.
The Jacob G Zuma Foundation had been popular for paying university fees for rural young people and hosting annual chess and soccer games in Nkandla and Eshowe, respectively.
ANC Youth League provincial chairperson Kwazi Mshengu said the league would visit Nkandla to request Zuma to avail himself to be part of ANC campaigns in KZN.