36 Quotes from Jacob Zuma

by The Editor

FEATURE: I have been looking through the various wise things Jacob Zuma has said, in particular, before his election to the Presidency in 2009. And, seeing as I have them all to hand, I thought I would put together a list of some of his more infamous statements. I was struck by how often he came out in defence of President Mbeki’s HIV/Aids denialism, specifically as Deputy President. That said, in no particular order, here are 36 quotes from Jacob Zuma.

36 Quotes from Jacob Zuma

By: Gareth van Onselen

10 July 2012

1. On the arms deal:

“What is the problem?”

2. On Robert Mugabe:

“…The people love him. So how can we condemn him?”

3. On the ANC and South Africa’s Constitution:

“[The ANC is] more important [than the Constitution].”

“[the Constitution is only there] to regulate matters.”

4. On how long the ANC will rule, in 2004:

“The ANC will rule South Africa until Jesus comes back.”

5. And, in 2007:

“That is why we believe [the ANC] will be in power forever until the son of man comes back.”

6. On same-sex marriage and homosexuality:

“Same sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God. When I was growing up, ‘ungqingili’ [homosexuals in isiZulu] could not stand in front of me, I would knock him out.”

7. On how to fight HIV/Aids:

“[a shower]… would minimise the risk of contracting the disease.”

8. On the possibility that the arms deal was corrupt:

“It’s just a figment of the imagination.”

9. On crime:

“Our media, which is very open and report on really everything, tend to exaggerate the crime issue…This is why one gets the impression that we have much more crime than other countries.”

10. On Mbeki’s decision to question the link between HIV and Aids:

“I do not know what damage one is causing by asking questions. I do not understand why people would say there has been a damage (sic) that needs to be repaired. There is absolutely no damage.”

11. On which political party God supports:

“God expects [the ANC] to rule this country because we are the only organisation which was blessed by pastors when it was formed. It is even blessed in Heaven. That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back. We should not allow anyone to govern our city [Cape Town] when we are ruling the country.”

12. On the crisis in Zimbabwe (and silent diplomacy), in 2000:

“In practice, we are, in fact, engaged to defuse and solve the problem. Our President is not about to do political propaganda. He is about to ensure that things are done.”

13. And, in 2002:

“…South Africa has done something that other countries have not done: it has engaged the Zimbabwean government in quiet diplomacy. The [African Charter on Human Rights] guides us on how we should handle our affairs in the continent… we have been engaging Zimbabwe and we have not come to a point where we have to look at that charter. We think that the manner in which we are dealing with Zimbabwe, at the moment, is sufficient.”

14. And, in 2004:

“With regard to… Zimbabwe, I don’t think South Africa could do more than what it is doing in terms of engaging Zimbabweans to discuss the issues that affect Zimbabwe and which, in the final analysis, will have to be resolved by the Zimbabweans. We have sought to engage both the Zimbabwean government and the opposition to discuss the issues as we see them and to hear how they feel about them. We believe that progress has been made in that direction. So, insofar as Zimbabwe is concerned, we are certain that perceptions will be dealt with or addressed very soon.”

15. And, in 2005:

I really do not know why we think there is going to be such problems in Zimbabwe… Why on Zimbabwe in particular? …Why are we prejudging Zimbabwe?”

16. And, finally, in 2008:

“And I tell you, nobody in the world can say they have done better on Zimbabwe than us.”

17. On the Arms Deal process:

“Government is satisfied that the entire weapons procurement process has been an open and transparent procedure. The negotiating team ensured that every aspect of the negotiations was carried out in a responsible and accountable manner.”

18. On accountability:

“No one person can be above the ANC. He can’t be.”

19. On Saddam Hussein:

“South Africa would certainly not persuade Saddam Hussein to leave his country. This would be a wrong move. We cannot determine what happens to the leaders of other countries. It is the people of those countries who have a right to change their leaders.”

20. On God and South African politics:

“[Those who vote for the ANC will be] blessed on earth and heaven (sic)”

21. On the possibility that the Scorpions might abuse their powers, in 2000:

“…I can certainly give the assurance to this House that there is no abuse of any regulation, rule or law in the context of the operation of the Scorpions… they are operating within the laws. We should have absolutely no fear that they could be out of bounds and abuse the rules because they are operating within the rules of the country.”

22. On the 2002 Zimbabwean Presidential Election:

“This election was legitimate, valid, free and fair”

23. On government ministers campaigning for the ANC:

“How do you distinguish these two? How do you say that because I am a Minister, well, let me not campaign because some are going to say that I am abusing my position. It can’t be. You have to campaign for your party.”

24. On what Mbeki’s views on Zimbabwe and HIV/Aids have done for his reputation:

“In our view, our President today is towering. He is, in fact, at the level of presidents in the developed countries. He has brought innovation in the debates that have taken place…. he has been recognised as a serious thinking President and head of state who knows exactly what he is doing.”

25. On whether government should investigate allegations of corruption in the Arms Deal:

“I do not think we should follow that route, otherwise this Parliament could end up discussing rumours and allegations that do not exist…we are satisfied that the process was transparent every step of the way. Following up those rumours… is unnecessary. We cannot stand and follow up rumours, really. I do not know why we should be persuaded to follow up all rumours that may come our way.”

26. On whether there is any evidence of corruption in arms deal:

“Up to this day, nobody has found anything. They’ve been chasing it in the sea, in the sky and everywhere. Nothing has been found.”

27. On politicians and public funds:

“I think it is important to say that public servants, in particular, more than anybody else, ought to be aware that they should be more upright and transparent in so far as the use of public funds is concerned.”

28. On placing ANC members in charge of independent institutions:

“…having a member who serves in the Government and who also belongs to the structures of the party does not retard this particular objective [the separation of party and state]. It does not.”

29. On the independence of the SABC:

“I think that this Government, in itself, called for the independence of the SABC… the ruling party in particular. That is why we have that independence. We cannot undermine it. I do not think there should be any worry about that.”

30. On whether President Mbeki needs persuading to play a more positive role in the fight against HIV/Aids:

“President Mbeki does not need any persuasion…he absolutely does not need any persuasion.”

31. On fighting corruption:

“We have set a firm foundation to fight corruption… the most important thing is that we have a system to deal with it and, who comes to the net is not the issue, it could be anyone”

32. On providing leadership as the head of the moral regeneration movement:

“…As far as I am concerned, I know I have not engaged in any immoral activities and therefore do not see the need to relinquish my responsibilities in the moral regeneration movement.”

33. On providing leadership as the Deputy President:

“…The Deputy President has not been weakened by anything because he has committed no crime, and is therefore not going to relinquish… any position or responsibility. There is absolutely no need for that.”

34. On complying the 2002 Constitutional Court order to provide Nevirapine:

“I cannot indicate, right here, how long this will take [the debate about Aids] but we are doing everything we can to encourage people, because people have different views and we do not want to exclude those views from what one will finally come up with as a final decision in moving forward.”

35. On whether Mbeki’s Aids denialism has damaged South Africa’s reputation:

“…I am not aware of South Africa losing credibility.”

36. On whether he is a crook

“Me? Well, I don’t know, I must go to a dictionary and learn what a crook is. I’ve never been a crook.”

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