Zuma reveals his birthday wishes amid protests

12 April 2017 - 11:46 By TMG Digital
President Jacob Zuma
President Jacob Zuma
Image: THULI DLAMINI

President Jacob Zuma’s birthday wish is a better life for all‚ he said on Wednesday.

The president celebrates his 75th birthday on Wednesday‚ which will be marked by a huge ANC bash in Kliptown‚ Soweto.

But‚ on the other side of the province‚ the mood will be somewhat different. Thousands of South Africans will be marching to the seat of government at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to call on the president to step down.

Zuma has seemed nonplussed by the widespread calls for his resignation‚ a campaign driven by several opposition parties and civic organisations.

  • Racism is ANC's fault‚ says EFF ahead of anti-Zuma marchEFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has hit out at critics of marches against President Jacob Zuma‚ saying that allegations of racism needed to be dispelled. 

Tens of thousands of protesters across the country took part in anti-Zuma marches last Friday and a similar turnout is expected on Wednesday.

The president has suggested that the protests are driven by racism‚ pointing to racist placards displayed during Friday’s protests.

Zuma again highlighted the need to tackle racist attitudes in a statement released on Wednesday.

  • High spirits in Pretoria as protesters prepare for anti-Zuma marchBefore the sun had risen on Wednesday‚ EFF supporters had already gathered at Church Square in Pretoria ahead of the national Day of Action march‚ calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign. 

“I would like to see us making more progress in fighting poverty and inequality. We need to make progress in black economic empowerment to promote true economic freedom‚” he said in a statement.

“I also wish to see us winning the battle against racism in our country. We remain committed to building a non-racial society and will continue to work hard to unite our people against racism and all its manifestations.

“My wish is also to see more citizens working with the police and government to rid our communities of crime and building safer communities.”

  • Zuma reshuffles state visit to 'avoid protest embarrassment'In a bid to prevent Qatari visitors from witnessing first hand the calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down‚ there was an eleventh hour change to the Amir of Qatar's State visit to South Africa sparking some discontent between the gulf state towards their host. 

The statement said Zuma would be busy with his normal programme in the morning‚ before heading off to his birthday do in Soweto.

The president was also preparing for a special cabinet meeting to address the economy‚ which has been hit by two credit ratings downgrades after the recent cabinet reshuffle.

Read the full statement below:

Presidency wishes President Zuma a happy birthday

The Presidency wishes President Jacob Zuma a very happy and fulfilling birthday as he turns 75 years old today.

The President will spend the morning continuing with his normal programme holding consultations with Ministers and will later join his organisation‚ the ANC‚ for a celebration rally this afternoon in Soweto.

The President says his birthday wish is to see more progress being made in building a better life for the poor and the working class.

"I would like to see us making more progress in fighting poverty and inequality. We need to make progress in black economic empowerment to promote true economic freedom. I also wish to see us winning the battle against racism in our country. We remain committed to building a non-racial society and will continue to work hard to unite our people against racism and all it's manifestations. My wish is also to see more citizens working with the police and government to rid our communities of crime and building safer communities".

The President is also preparing for a special cabinet meeting to discuss the current economic situation in the country with a view to uniting stakeholders and the whole country towards finding solutions as was done when the first economic crisis set in around 2008‚ which has hardly subsided during his two terms of office. This has been exacerbated by the recent sovereign credit downgrades.

"Working together we will find solutions‚" said President Zuma.

The President's birthday has been dampened by the death of Ontlametse Phalatse‚ a brave young fighter who didn't allow the disease Progeria to limit her life. The President had invited Ontlametse to attend his birthday celebration later this month and she was happy as he shares a birthday with her mother Bellone Ontlametse.

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