Zuma jokes about being put out to pasture on the farm
President Jacob Zuma has joked that when he retires in two years’ time he will venture into farming.
He was speaking on Tuesday at the official launch of Operation Vula - KwaZulu-Natal's grand plan to radically alter its economy for the benefit of black Africans.
Zuma had to leave an urgent ANC meeting in preparation of the ruling party's policy conference to attend the launch of Operation Vula and Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation programmes in Ixopo outside Pietermaritzburg.
He arrived just after 3pm despite KZN Premier Willies Mchunu's earlier announcement that the president would not attend the event where he was scheduled to be a keynote speaker.
He arrived to rapturous applause from a packed marquee at the local stadium.
The president apologised for arriving late‚ saying although he was aware of the event‚ party leaders had arranged a special NEC meeting in preparation of the policy conference which begins on Friday.
In his short speech delivered in Zulu‚ he thanked businesses for their support of the programme.
He also urged small farmers and the local communities to participate in the programme so that they can put food on the table.
"I am also going to start farming when I retire in two years’ time. I have already bought boots and overalls‚" he joked.
Zuma also urged other provinces to learn from the programmes which are an intervention by the province geared towards addressing the skewed economic make-up of the region through the empowerment of the previously disenfranchised.
Operation Vula seeks to localise the economy by exploiting the government's buying power to support SMMEs and cooperatives. It will target specific societal groupings such as blacks‚ women‚ youth and people with disabilities.
The province also wants to improve the participation of small scale farmers from historically underprivileged communities in the lucrative food production market.