Zuma denies being racist, contemplating land grabs
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.
LIGHT MOMENT: President Jacob Zuma with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in Parliament yesterday.