LISTEN: Change leaders, not parties - Zuma appeals to ANC voters ahead of polls

LISTEN: Change leaders, not parties - Zuma appeals to ANC voters ahead of polls

Former president Jacob Zuma has appealed to voters not to turn their backs against the troubled African National Congress (ANC) ahead of the local government elections.

Jacob Zuma national prayer day in Durban

Zuma made the remarks virtually on Thursday while addressing a crowd of supporters gathered in Durban for a national day of prayer for the politician.

It's the second time Zuma has addressed supporters on a virtual platform since his release from prison on medical parole.

The 79-year-old former head of state criticised the judiciary following a decision that saw him sentenced to 15-month behind bars for contempt of court. He served close to a month at the Estcourt prison in KwaZulu-Natal and another at a military hospital.

The public spat between Zuma and members of the judiciary turned violent when unrest erupted in KZN and Gauteng under the banner of 'Free Jacob Zuma'.

While he thanked supporters for vehemently protecting his honour; Zuma made little mention of the unrest except that it was an an indication of "cracks in society".

Zuma spent much of his 30-minute speech addressing his bone of contention with the judiciary, before turning his attention to politics of the ANC.

"Some people often mistake the behaviour of the incumbent leadership to be the behaviour of the ANC.

"Others mistake misbehaving individuals for the ANC. I want to underline that you and I, we are the ANC, the ANC is us," he said.


He believes the internal rifts in the governing party are amplified by "spies infiltrating" the movement.

"I want to underline the enemies of freedom have always tried to divide the ANC and to divide those who fight for freedom and those who work to strengthen democracy and society at large.

"They have done this by spreading lies about the ANC and its leaders. They have done this by minimising the successes and magnify shortcomings and failures. They have, and continue, to undermine the strength of the ANC also from within its own ranks. They have planted and continue to sponsor their own agents in the ANC ranks, particularly at leadership level," Zuma added.

He admitted there were concerns that the governing party was struggling to win outright majority at polls - leaving it to form coalition governments.

"If the ANC is out of power, which party can help us to change South Africa, with what policies? The ANC is the only organisation with clear policies to change this country and it must remain in power, it must grow to be bigger so that it can grow its objectives.

"If the leaders are not leading correctly, are not implementing the decisions that membership take - deal with that issue. Leaders are changed if there is a need to change them in order to maintain the organisation."

The November 1 elections are expected to be the most fiercely contested polls in democratic South Africa.

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