While campaigning for an upcoming election, Jacob Zuma referred to people who boo as empty vessels which make the most noise and to people not voting for the African National Congress (ANC) party as people who talk too much. “People who boo have a lot to say and do not pay attention,” he said. “This group of people should instead do their work. Their conduct does not help South Africa, and their continued insolence is not favored.”
The public comments that the booing is simply their way of implying that they do not believe Zuma and his empty promises. The promise of five million jobs in 2009 and other lucrative election promises have come to naught. The expense of Nkandla and the secrecy bill are other reasons that the public is angered. Zuma is booed because he is no longer needed, declare the people. Zuma, according to the citizens, has failed to generate prosperity for the masses while enriching only the top ANC leaders. No environment, no jobs and no service deliveries are no longer accepted by the masses, who want a real commitment.
At a rally in Jacksonville, members of the public said that they are victims of a corrupt government and live in shacks while the elite ANC members and government live in luxury. They said Zuma is not welcome in their town. The people will not listen to Zuma now that he is there to talk to them only in the hope of securing their votes. The people said Zuma has ignored their past cries for help and better service deliveries. The people are angry and tired of empty promises.
Zuma was booed at the Mandela Memorial, a soccer match at FNB stadium and recently at an event in Limpopo. More recently, the audience booed Zuma in the city of Port Elizabeth and continue to do so. In the city of Malamulele, the people continued to boo the president and throw their hands in the air when he said all their grievances would be addressed. Residents left the stadium and shouted at officials. Some cars were pelted with stones by the angry crowds. Zuma had by then left, and police were called in to quell the tense situation. Roads were barricaded, and the smoke from burning tires was obvious.
Meanwhile, Zuma referred to the people who called upon voters not to cast their vote for the ANC , saying that to do so is a waste of a vote. People, he said, talk too much and forget what the party has done.
Several top ANC comrades from the early days of struggle called on the public to destroy their ballot paper and to not vote for the ANC. Ronnie Kasrils, a long-time friend and confidant of Nelson Mandela, said it is not good to cast a vote for the ANC as the current leaders have failed to deliver to the people of the land. The ANC leaders have called this a treacherous and irresponsible action. Kasrils will continue his campaign and urge voters to cast their vote against the ANC in preparation for the May election. Kasrils said he has not renewed his ANC membership since he resigned in 2008 and after the recall of former president, Thabo Mbeki.
The minister of defense, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, said the call by Kasrils is a betrayal against everything the ANC party has fought for from their days of initial struggle. She said the former 20 years have been a time of educating the public on the value and importance of voting. Kasrils, she said, is arrogant to believe the ANC party has moved away from it principals.
Jacob Zuma continues his campaigning across the country amidst the disgruntled citizens who continue to boo him and his empty promises. The talkers who show no respect or recognition of the fight the ANC endured during the past are just that – talkers, according to Zuma.
The May 7 elections are anticipated to be a peaceful event, and the government has ensured that the South African Defense Force (SANDF) will be on standby to assist if necessary. Police visibility will expand on that day and some voting stations marked as a possible risk factor will have the added benefit of more security in case of intimidation and threats arising. Jacob Zuma has ensured a safe, credible and free election for South Africa.
By Laura Oneale