Small Businesss Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says the African National Congress will continue to defend President Jacob Zuma‚ despite mounting pressure and calls for him to step down.
The president is the president of the African National Congress. He is the president of the country and that we will continue to defend the president as members of African National Congress‚ as long as he is a member of [the ANC]‚” Zulu said on Sunday.
She was responding to a question on why Zuma was still holding on to his position in the wake of the economic crisis facing the country.
Last week‚ thousands of South Africans across the country held protest marches calling for the president to step down following ratings agencies Fitch and S& P Global Ratings’ decision to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to sub-investment grade or junk status.
At a media briefing held on Sunday‚ the ANC said it was studying the implications of the country’s credit rating downgrades.
The marches also came against the backdrop of Zuma’s announcement of his cabinet reshuffle which saw former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan fired and replaced by Malusi Gigaba‚ the former Home Affairs minister.
“As long as he remains the president of the country‚ we will all respect that‚ save to say‚ obviously that some of the attacks out there [against Zuma] are very painful because to see a newspaper headline with the president being portrayed almost like Hitler‚ is just unbelievable.
“That 23 years down the line of our democracy‚ of our trying to be build a non racial South Africa‚ our trying to build tolerance for each other‚ we wake up to a picture like that‚ but I know and we know as members of [the ANC]‚ that it has taken us long to be where we are‚” Zulu said
Zulu said the party was confident that it would be able to deal with the challenges that it was facing‚ including that of the “depiction of the president like he is Hitler and all the emotional things that are happening in the outside‚ we pool our resources to make sure we build a better South Africa”.
“What is important of us as member of the [ANC] is to continue to pull South Africans together…
“We can’t deal with the challenges facing the country by being destructive. That isn’t going to take South Africa forward‚” Zulu said.
“We want to put it here and state it here that President Zuma is the president of the [ANC].He is the president of the country and therefore‚ like any other president of the ANC‚ at any other moment of the ANC‚ the ANC will always know what to do and how to deal with those challenges that they are facing‚” she added.