In what could be seen as a direct swipe at recent anti-Zuma pronouncements by the African National Congress’s alliance partners – union federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party – he told them to focus on “real issues” affecting the working class and poor instead of ridiculing the ANC in public.
Zuma was speaking in isiZulu at People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium, in Durban on Sunday evening at a prayer meeting held in his honour. Hours earlier at a rally in Bulwer, he announced his support for former African Union Commission chairwoman, and his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to lead the ANC post-December 2017.
“There is a problem in this country of people who are saying we are in crisis… those saying that the ANC is in crisis must come to Zuma and tell Zuma that he is no longer leading well,” he said.
About 1000 congregants and ANC supporters crammed into a marquee in inclement weather, many of them wrapped in ANC regalia, as they sang and danced to a live gospel performance while waiting for Zuma.
“The funny thing is that those who voted against the ANC have not changed; they continue being against us, they do not surprise us. The surprise comes from those who are part of the ANC who start talking things that are incomprehensible and they don’t say these things in the right places. At times you hear religious leaders say things that a priest should not say.
“They say all sorts of accusations about this dog, saying I am corrupt, I steal, without a shred of evidence of this theft. They say I am a dog, but I have two legs not four. I don’t have a tail or a snout,” said Zuma.
Opposition parties had their own problems, yet they spent a lot of time and resources talking about the ANC.
“We were promised we would become a socialist country but when will this be discussed? Why is it not being implemented?” he asked.
Workers were in trouble with the impending “fourth industrial revolution” where they would lose jobs to information technology. Yet, workers’ organisations were discussing the ANC, he said.
“Never has the ANC talked about discussing one of the alliance partners. We talk about matters of the ANC, by the ANC; we don’t utter the name of another organisation. These unusual actions indicate that there is a third force that these people report to… I’m not saying much but it is suspicious.
“Religious leaders must pray for us political leaders when we go astray and not criticise us like some are doing, calling us criminals or idiots or Satan,” Zuma said.
On Monday, the KwaZulu-Natal ANC will march against what it called the “frivolous” use of the judiciary by opposition parties which were not upholding the principle of separation of powers. The march starts at 8am in Durban.
Also on Monday, the Constitutional Court will deal with a case of whether the Constitution allows for a secret ballot in a motion of no confidence in Zuma.
The motion was called for after Zuma fired finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, which was rapidly followed by rating agencies downgrading the country to junk status.
A secret vote in the National Assembly is seen as a necessity to stop intimidation of ANC MPs who may want to “vote with their conscience” against Zuma.