Jacob Zuma's eThekwini recording deal blasted by DA

'Blatant patronage where the people’s money will be used to finance the former president’s lifestyle'

02 January 2019 - 12:13 By BONGANI MTHETHWA
Former ANC president Jacob Zuma singing at the start of the ANC policy conference at Nasrec on June 30 2107.
Former ANC president Jacob Zuma singing at the start of the ANC policy conference at Nasrec on June 30 2107.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times

The DA in eThekwini has slammed the city’s decision to reach an agreement with former president Jacob Zuma to record his popular struggle songs.

The eThekwini municipality’s parks, recreation and culture unit reached the agreement with Zuma on Friday last week. Zuma would lead a yet-to-be-formed Durban mass choir which will back Zuma.

The deal was struck after the city’s head of parks, recreation and culture Thembinkosi Ngcobo led a delegation which included the creator and producer of popular SABC 2 soapie Muvhango, Duma ka Ndlovu, and Lamontville cultural activist Mandla Ka Nozulu Kheswa to Nkandla on Friday.

Ngobo told a Durban daily newspaper that for the past two months, he had been trying to secure a meeting with Zuma to discuss the matter. He said the municipality had taken the initiative to record Zuma after noticing his singing talent on stage.

The former president is known for his good rendition of struggle songs such as Awuleth’ Umshini Wami — the revolutionary song that became synonymous with his tribulations — and the antheimic Thina sizwe esimnyama, sikhalela umhlaba wethu owathathwa amabhunu. Mabawuyeke umhlaba wethu — a reference to the land taken by Afrikaners.

Ngcobo said Zuma, a strong traditionalist who is fond of singing, had readily agreed to record the struggle songs and the plan was to have him record in April. He said the initiative was aimed at preserving Zuma’s heritage before his death.

But DA eThekwini councillor Nicole Graham on Wednesday slammed the city’s decision, saying the record deal was “blatant patronage where the people’s money will be used to finance the former president’s lifestyle.”

“This proposal has not been served before any committee of council, nor has it been adopted by the council. The DA has been calling for greater accountability and functionality of the city’s parks unit. The unit has seemingly gone rogue, abandoning many of its core functions in favour of flashy events and concerts,” said Graham in a statement.

She added that it was now clear that the eThekwini municipality has become ”completely captured by the failing ANC.”

“While the history of our country holds immense value to us all, it is impossible that any rational person would believe that a corrupt and disgraced former president singing ANC struggle songs holds any benefit to the people of eThekwini.”

Graham said the DA will be writing to city manager Sipho Nzuza asking him to reign in the parks unit and put a stop to “unethical project.”

“The DA will fight this matter tooth and nail in the interests of all who prioritise service delivery over politics,” she said.


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