South Africa`s Zuma booed at election rally

Last Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 04:36

Johannesburg: Disgruntled residents in a small South African town booed President Jacob Zuma Wednesday during an election campaign of the ruling ANC three weeks ahead of general polls, according to a report.

Rally-goers reacted angrily while Zuma -- under fire for multimillion-dollar state-paid renovations to his private home -- was answering questions from the stage, according to City Press newspaper.

Angry residents left early and pelted stones at cars, according to the newspaper.

The residents are from the community of Malamulele in the northern province of Limpopo and are demanding their own municipality, instead of falling under a different local government 35 kilometres (22 miles) away.

But Zuma, 71, who is seeking a second term, said he could not interfere with ongoing government processes.

"The matter is now in the hands where it is supposed to be so that it can be concluded. That is what we can say. We can`t say more than that," he said to angry boos as some in the crowd threw their hands in the air.

South African President Jacob Zuma leads hundreds of supporters in singing a song during a campaign …

"I don`t want to tell a lie. I can`t on my own come here and take a decision. I am not a dictator; only dictators do so," he then added.

The ruling African National Congress has won every election since the first all-race polls in 1994, and is almost certain to win again in the May 7-vote.

But rampant unemployment, poverty and corruption have faded the party`s lustre, prompting predictions its majority will be reduced.

Zuma`s popularity has also waned in the wake of renovations worth $23 million to his private home -- funded with tax-payers money.

A national ombudsman in March ordered the president to repay part of the costs, but he denied responsibility, saying he did not ask for the makeover.

In an embarrassment for Nelson Mandela`s party, Zuma was booed at the Nobel Peace Laureate`s memorial service in December last year, which US President Barack Obama also attended.

In March the crowd booed him again at a friendly soccer match between South Africa and Brazil in Johannesburg.


First Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 04:36

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