Durban - President Jacob Zuma has called on black people to think about their poverty and use their majority to counteract white voters’ motives during local government elections.
He said while black people were normally lazy to register for elections or to vote, white people always liked to do so in large numbers “for their own interest, which I don’t know”.
“Vote is important for black people because they are suffering. It is also important for white people for their own reasons,” he said.
Although he avoided telling black people to vote for the ANC, he said were they to do so in large numbers, the government would be able to bring about changes that would benefit them.
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“You see if you don’t register for election, sorrow would always be upon you, because claiming back the repossessed land should follow the rule of law, which is drafted in Parliament.
“Parliament needs a majority. With the majority we can change the country, that is why I say black people should unite.
“Even if you are in different political parties, you should know things that you can vote for separately and things that you need to vote for as a united nation.”
The president was in Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal, as the keynote speaker during a government drought relief event.
Thousands braced pouring rain to listen to Zuma. Although this was a government event, many came dressed in ANC regalia.
They praised the party and Zuma, and went home with food parcels.
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Zuma said were black people to vote in large numbers, the government would be able to address their concerns about land restitution, which he said needed to be reviewed.
He said the current system had not benefited black people.
However, he said were black people to vote, the government would change the system to fast-track land restitution.
He said the constitution mistakenly recognised 1913 as the cut-off date for land claims, whereas the repossession started in 1600 and continued in “1700 and got worse in 1800”.
Although he did not spell it out that the constitution should be reviewed, he said it had wrongly documented the land dispossession.
“Constitutionally speaking, would we be able to deal with poverty without land ownership, the destitute? Are we going to be able to create black industrialists without land ownership?”
The president never said anything about the troubles surrounding his Nkandla homestead and a Constitutional Court ruling on it.
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When he entered the marquee tents, people sang Struggle songs to welcome him, while a group of people seated in the front row allocated for mayors stood and lifted three fingers, apparently as a sign that they wanted him to take a third term.