By Paul Nyathi|Former South African president Jacob Zuma has “warned” those who continue to speak about him in public not to “provoke” him.
Zuma told his detractors to keep quiet and discuss their own organisations, not him.
“Not me, because I have things to say about their organisations, but I don’t want to do so because I know why I’m part of the struggle. They must not provoke me,” he said.
Zuma issued the warning after delivering a speech on free education at an event organised by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) in Durban on Wednesday.
After his speech, he sang Yinde Lendlela and, just as everyone thought he was done, he issued the warning.
He said the reason he had kept quiet for so long was because he had been president at the time and needed to be careful about how he handled things.
“I just want to give that warning. Instead of discussing their own programmes and policies, they sit in their leadership to discuss me. I’m warning them, don’t continue doing it,” he said.
He said, now that he was no longer president, “I can handle them the way I want. This is just a warning”, before launching into his signature song Umshini Wami.
The ANC Youth League’s KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Kwazi Mshengu had earlier told those gathered at the venue that the league was worried about Zuma’s “persecution” by the South African Communist Party.
“It is not the role of the communist party to spend three days in a meeting discussing Zuma, and then call a media briefing to say they still hate Zuma,” he said.
He asked what more Zuma had to do to prove that he was a loyal ANC member.
“If he campaigns for the ANC, they say he must stop and if he sits at home they associate him with the formation of a new party. We are saying Zuma must continue campaigning for the ANC.”
Khetha Mjodi from Cosas accused SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande of failing to give them free education when he was minister of higher education.
“But Zuma did. The same person who says Zuma mustn’t be used in ANC programmes is the same person who failed to give us free education,” he said, adding that they would continue using Zuma in their programmes.
Nzimande reportedly said on Sunday that it was not enough for Zuma to say he was not planning to leave the ANC.
He reportedly said that Zuma was at the heart of a counter-revolutionary fightback against the drive against corruption and state capture.
On Thursday last week, Zuma dismissed allegations that he was part of a group that wanted to form a new political party in KwaZulu-Natal.