Zuma a hero of the masses – Des van Rooyen

Johannesburg - When the real history is told, President Jacob Zuma will be remembered for bringing hope to millions of South Africa's citizens, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen said.

Van Rooyen sang Zuma’s praises during the opening of the Traditional Leaders Indaba at Birchwood Hotel on the East Rand on Monday morning.

“That the institution of traditional leaders is now well recognised in the democratic South Africa is in no small way… [because of] the leadership of our current leaders, [like] President Zuma,” he said.

Van Rooyen said Zuma should be celebrated as the leader whose hallmark has been the struggle for the voiceless.

He said that sacrifices made by Zuma had guided his own actions to ensure that services delivery had improved for the poorest of the poor in the country.

“He is the hero of the masses. Those voiceless citizens who do not have access to Twitter and Facebook.

“We know very well that he is not a friend to monopoly capital; we know very well that he is shaking a lot of things. His leadership has changed the lives of the poorest of the poor,” Van Rooyen said.

Gupta allegations

His comments come on the back of Zuma surviving another motion of no confidence tabled against him at a meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) in Pretoria at the weekend.

It also follows the revelations on Sunday of a trove of emails linked to the controversial Gupta family. The emails show that the Guptas picked up the tab for Van Rooyen’s visit to Dubai in 2015.

Van Rooyen was finance minister for a weekend in December 2015, when former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was removed. Van Rooyen was removed after an uproar, and replaced by Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan was axed in a Cabinet reshuffle at the end of March this year.

Van Rooyen, who has refused to comment on recent allegations against him, praised Zuma on Monday for dedicating his life to struggle for the “poorest of the poor”.

Zuma, who was described by NEC sources as “very angry”, and who allegedly threatened his detractors in the ANC not to “push him too far” after the motion, smiled when he arrived at the indaba.

He was welcomed by Van Rooyen as they walked side by side to the conference hall.

Also in attendance were Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwebane.

When News24 attempted to get comment from Zuma on the ANC NEC, his bodyguards brushed the reporter aside. DM


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