In mid February I went to Cape Town for the State of The Nation Address (SONA). The day before, I was given exclusive access to interview President Jacob Zuma at his Cape Town home.
This was not my first personal interaction with Zuma, but I was surprised to find him so hospitable in his home.
He dusted a seat for my colleaugue and invited me in his home.
This was not the only story I wrote on the interview but it was chosen by my editors as the lead story for all editions of The New Age.
IN AN exclusive in-depth interview with The New Age and ANN7 President Jacob Zuma shared his pride about how far the country had come since 1994.
“It is 20 years of a democracy after centuries of apartheid machinery,” he said.
In the wide-ranging discussion the president discussed the Freedom Charter which he saw as a foundation for the National Development Plan, economic policy and the state of the alliance with Cosatu. “Cosatu looks after the interests of workers.
“It can’t agree on everything with the ANC. The ANC looks after the interests of everyone,” he said. The president also insisted that South Africa was not on fire.
This is despite the hundreds of protests that have rocked the country this year.
“There are a number of things that cause service delivery protests. It is not a new thing. Sometimes it is not delivery.
“At times it is political with people fighting, wanting to overthrow each other,” he said.
On the question of corruption he said that he had signed many proclamations ordering the special investigative unit to investigate allegations of corruption.
The latest of these was an investigation of allegations of corruption in the South African Post Office. “People continue to say we are hiding corruption. We have acted but they are not seeing it,” he said.
Discussing the recent accusations against him of corruption regarding security upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, the president said “we are waiting for the report of the public protector”.
Without wanting to delve into the technicalities of the investigation, Zuma said that he would accept the outcome.
During the interview Zuma bemoaned the state of opposition politics in South Africa and said he would respect a constructive opposition.
He went on to describe what he called a “funny democracy”.
“You can’t march to another political party. It is a funny understanding of democracy.”
He wrapped up saying he was not nervous for the May 7 elections. “I think it will be an interesting election,” he said with a smile.