South African President Jacob Zuma, Photo: Huffington Post
Cape Town, South Africa- South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has talked himself into trouble after casting a slur on the continent by saying that Johannesburg residents should not ”think like Africans in Africa”.
The comments, which President Zuma made while addressing the controversial new toll roads in and around the city, has generated an outcry, with the country’s official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) Wednesday asking the President to apologise and retract the comments.
The South African President told an audience at Wits University that “we can’t think like Africans in Africa generally; we are in Johannesburg and not some national road in Malawi.”
Analysts said the comments could fuel xenophobia, in a country where foreigners have been subjected to attacks several times.
“The president should rather take a leaf out of the books of other African economies that are actually growing faster than us,” DA official Mmusi Maimane said.
However, Jackson Mthembu, spokesman for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), said both the organisation and the President hold the people of Malawi and elsewhere on the continent in high regard.
“The context in which the statement was made must be clarified in order to understand how the President’s comment, which has been mischievously singled out, arose,” said Mthembu.
Zuma’s office concurred that the media quoted him out of context.
“The remarks were made in the broader context of South Africa achieving more in the past 19 years of freedom and democracy,” said his spokesperson Mac Maharaj. “The words have regrettably been taken out of context and blown completely out of proportion.”