No self-reflection in Zuma’s last speech

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 12: President Jacob Zuma during his visit the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre to lay a wreath at the cell of liberation struggle hero Steve Bantu Biko on September 12, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. Zuma visited the centre as part of commemorating the 40th anniversary of Biko’s death at the hands of apartheid security police in 1977. (Photo by Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)

Jacob Zuma’s final speech as president of the ANC contained very dangerous and concerning signals to South Africans, analyst Melanie Verwoerd says.

Zuma spoke for almost three hours at the ANC’s 54th national conference slamming, among others, the media, private sector and civil society organisations.

“There were some very, very dangerous signals in terms of freedom of the press, freedom of people inside the ANC to speak out, and the control the ANC wants to have over elected representatives,” Verwoerd said. “His criticism of the private sector and attack on civil society were very concerning.”

Also interesting was his lack of self-reflection, as is usually customary for an outgoing president to do.

“All the ANC’s problems were blamed on factionalism and there was no self-acknowledgment of his role in the declining support of ANC.

“What was interesting was that the audience’s reaction was slightly lukewarm, which created the impression that they’re moving on, even though there was tremendous singing and cheering when Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma came in.”

Verwoerd says that Zuma’s emotional goodbye earned him a repeated standing applause.

“That certainly counts as a lot of votes for Dlamini-Zuma. One thing is for sure, it’s definitely not over for her.”

(Photo credit: Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)