ANC veteran and convener of the Save SA campaign Sipho Pityana has delivered yet another fiercely critical speech against President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, referring to him as a “limping” leader and “spanner boy for a bunch of crooks” who has brought shame to his party.
Speaking on Wednesday at the movement’s so-called People’s Assembly on the “real” state of the nation at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, Pityana said he would call on National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete not to allow Zuma to address the nation during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in parliament on Thursday because he had lost the trust and credibility of citizens of the country.
“Comrades and friends, I would urge the speaker of the house tomorrow to not address President Jacob Zuma as honourable when she invites him to take up the podium to present the state of the nation. For, as you all know now, that it is a matter of fact that he’s not.
“And more importantly, he shouldn’t be addressing us as a nation in his capacity as the president, for he has broken the contract between himself and the citizens of this country. Instead Parliament should be telling all of us when it intends to account following the Constitutional Court’s judgment on the secure and comfort [report by the public protector into nonsecurity upgrades at Nkandla].
“My dear President Zuma, you must know that as a nation we no longer have confidence in your leadership. You’re not trusted by the people, you’re not trusted by civil society, and increasingly you’re not trusted by your own party and its allies,” he said in his scathing remarks at the event.
The Save SA campaign said the gathering ahead of Thursday’s Sona by Zuma is designed to allow South Africans to share their grievances about the current ANC government.
The campaign, which has been calling on Zuma to step down from office following a raft of corruption scandals that have dogged his presidency, hopes to galvanise citizens from all sectors of civil society to demand Zuma’s resignation and accountability from state leaders, including the cancellation of the controversial nuclear built programme by government.
Pityana, also chairperson of mining giant Anglo Gold Ashanti, said even members of the governing party had lost confidence in Zuma’s leadership.
“… now you know that ANC members through their various structures have urged you to step down. Not only as president of the country but also as leader of that esteemed organisation, the African National Congress. For you have used every opportunity to bring shame to a glorious movement that our nation, thanks for its role in liberating our country.
“It is and you know, the state of our nation that today we are led by a limping president who doesn’t enjoy the full confidence, not only of many of his colleagues in Cabinet, Parliament and the national executive committee of the ANC, but importantly, he doesn’t enjoy the confidence of the masses of our people who are perturbed, aghast and disgusted at his dishonourable and shameful conduct,” he said.
In his most biting criticism of Zuma, Pityana added that the president had sold the country to corruption individuals bent on stealing from the poor, branding Zuma as “a runner and spanner boy for a bunch of crooks and criminals”.
“Here is a leader who thinks our hard-won freedom and right to self-determination can be handed over to shady characters; a gang of looters who are determined to steal from the poor. A leader not befitting an honour to that a nation has bestowed on him to be a president.”