As opposition parties plan to spend President Jacob Zuma’s birthday marching against him‚ the president plans to enjoy his 75th birthday in Kliptown‚ Soweto‚ in an event planned by the ANC. Zuma’s birthday is on Wednesday.
On Tuesday‚ he was in Westonaria where he conducted a site-visit of the local Agri-Park project.
He appeared unfazed by the growing calls for his removal from opposition parties and‚ instead‚ the crowd that had gathered in Westonaria were invited to join in Wednesday’s celebrations by the local acting mayor.
Zuma beamed as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday”.
He in turn took to the podium and delivered an impressive rendition of his “Mshini wam’” song‚ leaving the crowds elated.
Sticking to the programme at hand‚ Zuma made no mention of opposition parties or the growing whirlwind around his future.
Fresh calls for Zuma’s removal came after his latest reshuffling of the Cabinet‚ which resulted in the axing of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
This was followed by two rating agencies downgrading the country to junk status.
ANC supporters on the West Rand however‚ cemented their support for the president as scores ululated and joined in songs of praise for him.
Acting Mayor of the West Rand‚ David Molebatse warmed the crowd ahead of Zuma’s arrival‚ coaching them on how to carry out the “Zuma” chant when he walked in.
The crowd delivered as they shouted their approval of Zuma‚ who was flanked by ministers Nomvula Mokonyane‚ Gugile Nkwinti and Sezeni Zokwana.
Zuma praised the Agri-Parks project‚ expressing his fascination at seeing cabbages “growing out of nowhere”‚ describing the project as “a wonder of technology”.
He emphasised the importance of the project‚ saying it would bring about change in the rural communities.
“The scars of apartheid still show. Our rural communities sadly remain the most excluded in the country’s economy and are the most insecure of the population‚” he said.
Zuma said such projects would be rolled out in all the district municipalities of the country and would result in farming communities‚ particularly black farmers‚ being introduced to a formal sector.