DURBAN – Former South African president Jacob Zuma has publicly spoken out for the first time since he was granted medical parole early last month and pleaded with people to go out and vote for the ruling ANC in the upcoming local government elections.
In a recorded video that was shared by the Jacob Zuma Foundation of which he is the patron, Zuma said he had become increasingly worried by voters who wanted to boycott the elections.
Zuma, speaking in Zulu on Tuesday, said boycotting the elections was not a solution and that while he was equally unhappy with some issues he was still going to vote.
The plea comes as reports emerge that the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is scrambling to get Zuma on board to help with the election campaign, which is struggling to get off the ground.
His public endorsement is aimed at helping the provincial leadership of the ruling party to persuade his supporters, who are still bitter about his recent incarceration, to vote.
Some of the supporters have publicly and repeatedly claimed that the ANC under President Cyril Ramaphosa did not do enough to save Zuma from jail.
H.E President Zuma gives a clear line of march. pic.twitter.com/gSfWjoIcmd
— JGZuma Foundation (Official) (@JGZ_Foundation) October 5, 2021
“The time to elect our local governments has come and for quite some time I have been picking up that some are saying that for some reasons, they will not vote when the voting takes place.
“That has left me troubled at heart and felt I should add my voice by pleading with those who are saying that to stand up and vote, especially vote for the party that brought freedom, the ANC.
“It is of paramount importance for us to do that (voting for the ANC). Maybe I also have some reservations about certain issues, but I will vote. If we don’t vote we will find ourselves without a voice in the country’s affairs, without any power to change the people’s lives. I am pleading with you to rethink that, please vote,” Zuma said in the video.
Next week Thursday (October 14, 2021), Zuma supporters are expected to descend on Nkandla to stage a welcome home rally. There are already talks within ANC circles in the province that the provincial leadership under Sihle Zikalala should be present to prevent the platform from being hijacked by anti-ANC figures who may try to sway the supporters away from the ANC.