President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Leon Nicholas.

Bloemfontein residents were divided over how they felt about President Jacob Zuma, ahead of the ANC's national conference being held in the city.

Smanga Mathe, 20, who was handing out flyers for Makro at a traffic-light on Saturday said he wanted Zuma to remain president of the African National Congress.

“I like Jacob, because he helps the young people with grants and the old people with pensions,” he said.

“He also helps the youth in terms of education.”

Mathe said the ANC would make sure that it found a way to help South Africans escape poverty and unemployment.

“What they will discuss there (at the conference) will help me. The ANC looks out for the people.”

Itebogeng Tshwepang, 28, who said he worked for a “private sector company” agreed with Mathe.

“Zuma is a good guy. He is the people's guy,” he said while sitting at the roadside, waiting for a taxi.

He said the country could not have been left in “better hands”.

“Things have changed since the ANC has been in charge. I was unemployed, but now I have a job.

“If the ANC was not in power, I would not be able to sit here and wait for my taxi,” he said gesturing to the pavement.

However, William Matsekane, 32, a Fidelity security guard who would be working as a guard at the conference, said he was disappointed by Zuma, and wanted him to be replaced by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

“Honestly I don’t want him (Zuma) to stay at the top of the ANC,” he said.

“I would not vote for him for president (of South Africa) again.

Everything he touches or says - no good things come from it. I don’t even listen to his speeches anymore.”

He said the ANC's policy commissions would be a “disaster”.

“Whatever they talk about won't be implemented. They are just talking,” Matsekane said.

“They are going to promise things, but they are lying.”

Julia Nkgwedi, 33, who worked as a cashier at an Engen garage said Zuma was a “good president” but he did not deserve a second term.

She also lamented the state of the ANC’s service delivery.

“Since we were small, we have been brought up with the ANC,” she said.

“There are many things that have not been done - there are still people who live in shacks and they have been waiting for 15

years for RDP houses. He (Zuma) said the youth would get jobs, but they haven't.”

She said expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema would return to the party to usher in a “change in the ANC”.

“If Zuma is president, we will not vote in the elections. We will wait for Julius to come back, so that he can be president of the ANC,” she said.

“He will be back. He is good because he has that element about him, you know? He keeps the ANC on its toes.”

The conference is scheduled to start on Sunday. The party’s top six officials, as well as the national executive committee members would be elected by delegates over the course of the week. - Sapa