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We are reaping what we sowed – Zuma

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. (Photo: DoC)
FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. (Photo: DoC)

President Jacob Zuma has admitted that the ANC made a mistake by not explaining to South Africans what freedom entails when it came into power in 1994.

Zuma said the ANC took things for granted and the party was reaping what it sowed. Addressing the ANC’s stakeholders’ forum against xenophobia at Luthuli House on Monday, Zuma said: “We keep on telling people that the constitution does not allow this. We did not explain what.”

“We came from an ugly past that we must put behind us. We must also explain what freedom and democracy is.”

The xenophobic violence which has gripped the country started about two weeks ago in KwaZulu-Natal.

At least seven people are known to have died in the attacks.

Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have all voiced their concerns about the violence that has displaced hundreds of their citizens.

Malawi, Kenya and Zimabwe have already made contingency arrangements to evacuate their nationals from South Africa.

Zuma said he was confident if former Nelson Mandela was alive there would still be xenophobic violence.

“We need to talk about this,” said Zuma

“I am sure if Madiba was alive it would still be like this.

“We did not address this at beginning.”

He said the ANC leadership had failed to do a number of things, including dealing with a culture of violence caused by apartheid.

“We had to be violent to defeat Apartheid,” said the president.

“That culture was not addressed after 1994. That time has come to an end.”

Zuma said there was a need to start afresh and to be united as a country to regain the damage that has been done.

He criticised the Sunday Times picture showing Emmanuel Sithole being killed.

“If there was a criminal in my family, would I tell the world this was part of my family?” asked Zuma.

“What are we telling the world?”

Zuma added: “There is a limit in everything you do. If not, people would be making babies in the streets.”

“Let us have more people educating and less people criticising.”

Zuma is expected to host a meeting with various stakeholders to address xenophobia on Wednesday.

 

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