Zuma de­nies be­ing racist, con­tem­plat­ing land grabs

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma has de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions by Free­dom Front Plus leader Pi­eter Groe­newald that he hates white peo­ple, say­ing he would be the first to de­fend them if they were at­tacked.

Zuma said he was not racist and the ANC had taught him non-racial­ism. He added that some of his com­man­ders in the ANC dur­ing the Strug­gle were white peo­ple.

Speak­ing dur­ing his re­ply to the de­bate on the Pres­i­dency’s bud­get vote in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, Zuma in­vited Groe­newald to dis­cuss land re­form with him.

The FF Plus leader said he wel­comed the in­vi­ta­tion and would meet with Zuma soon.

Zuma as­sured Par­lia­ment there would be no land grabs in South Africa as had hap­pened in Zim­babwe.

He said ev­ery­thing would be done in line with the con­sti­tu­tion and laws of the coun­try, but re­it­er­ated that land re­form had to be ad­dressed, even if it meant amend­ing the con­sti­tu­tion with the re­quired twothirds ma­jor­ity.

“I was asked if we will do it the Zim­babwe way. I said ‘No, this is not Zim­babwe, this is South Africa’,” said Zuma.

“We will do it within the law. That is the is­sue. That is my po­si­tion. That is the po­si­tion of the ANC. If you think we need to dis­cuss these mat­ters, we need to do it in or­der to find an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion,” Zuma told Groe­newald.

He said he was in the trenches with white peo­ple. “I was com­manded by whites in the war for free­dom. If there are those who say ‘let us kill the whites’ I will be one of those who will fight and de­fend you,” he said.

“Even peo­ple who say ‘let us grab land by force’, we don’t agree with them. We be­lieve we have the in­stru­ments in South Africa: the con­sti­tu­tion, the laws and even this Par­lia­ment,” he said.

Groe­newald said he was will­ing to meet with Zuma and dis­cuss land re­form. “Can I say to the pres­i­dent ‘I ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion’? We will talk,” he said.

Zuma at­tacked the DA and ac­cused it of be­ing pes­simistic af­ter it said South Africa was head­ing to­wards a failed state be­cause of his al­leged mis­man­age­ment of the econ­omy.

The DA had boy­cotted Zuma’s re­ply to the de­bate in Par­lia­ment, fol­low­ing the EFF’s boy­cott de­ci­sion ear­lier.

He said the DA had let down its vot­ers by fail­ing to come to Par­lia­ment as part of their con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity and obli­ga­tion. He said he was de­lighted the DA had been read­ing a lot of ma­te­rial by late for­mer ANC leader Oliver Tambo.

He said the fact that the DA was quot­ing Tambo ex­ten­sively these days showed the cam­paign by the ANC to re­mem­ber Tambo was work­ing.

Zuma said it was ironic the DA’s fore­bears re­garded Tambo as a ter­ror­ist and its cur­rent gen­er­a­tion quoted him.

How­ever, he called on the party to quote its own lead­ers and the apartheid ar­chi­tect Hen­drik Ver­wo­erd.

PIC­TURE: ELMOND JIYANE / GCIS

LIGHT MO­MENT: Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma with Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

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