I was the ANC’s president first: Zuma
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Parliament – President Jacob Zuma returned to his infamous remark that the ANC came before the country again on Thursday, telling his critics in the National Assembly to respect the fact that he was speaking in his capacity as leader of the ruling party at time.
“I am an ANC president, in addition to being president of the state, elected by the ANC members,” Zuma said as he was confronted by the opposition during presidential question time.
“They are making a muddle-up of issues, my dear friends. It is the elections of the ANC of me as a president that led to me to come to this House. I was elected first by the ANC as a president and then given a task to lead a campaign as the ANC president before I was the state president,” he said.
Zuma caused an outcry ten days ago when he told the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal conference: “… And I argued one time with somebody who said that the country comes first, and I said as much as I understand that, I think my organisation, the ANC, comes first.”
He issued a statement earlier this week in which he sought to clarify the remark, while reiterating that South Africa needed the ANC to be strong and intact as it was the only party that could consolidate democracy.
On Thursday, he stressed: “Don’t conflate the two things. When I speak to the ANC members I speak to the ANC members. When I speak to the country I speak to the country and I made the distinction between the two.”
He went on to add that the ANC not only pre-dated democracy but was the party that made it a reality.
“Who came first, was it the democratic country, or was it the ANC? Who came first, who came first, who came first?
“This was an ANC meeting, discussing ANC policy and ANC issues … The ANC started to fight for a democratic South Africa before it existed, in 1912. It fought all this time until it liberated South Africa.
“The ANC is taking South Africa today to its prosperity. No other party can do it except the ANC. So the ANC is very important. That is what I was dealing with, the politics of the ANC.”
African News Agency
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