Zille Heckled as Zuma Watches

Cape Times (South Africa), November 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Zille Heckled as Zuma Watches


BYLINE: Cobus Coetzee Political Writer

PREMIER Helen Zille stormed off the stage yesterday at the launch of a major oil and gas project in Saldanha after people in ANC T-shirts heckled her in front of President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma did not intercede to stop the howling and booing, even after Zille called on him to intervene.

The president's visit to the West Coast town was to launch the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) that is expected to create over 11 000 direct, indirect and induced jobs over 25 years and attract R9.3 billion in foreign direct investment.

Zille, Saldanha mayor Francois Schippers and Economic Development MEC Alan Winde left the event before Zuma could speak. Zille had been expected to give the welcoming address in front of residents, government ministers, foreign investors and diplomats.

The event was part of the ANC's election strategy to show off key infrastructure projects the national government has delivered over the past term. ANC Western Cape elections manager, Zou Kota-Fredericks, said last month it was important to show the IDZ was a project led by the ANC national government and not the DA's provincial government.

ANC posters, to remind people to register for next year's elections, were put up all over Saldanha on Wednesday, while hundreds of ANC supporters wearing party T-shirts were in and around the marquee tent in Diazville. An ANC van played loud music outside the venue.

Inside the marquee the crowd did not give Zille a chance to speak.

She responded to the heckling: "The president and I spoke on the telephone last night and I said to the president, 'I know this is going to be turned into (a) party political rally'. This is serious abuse, this is corruption. This is supposed to be a state function, paid for by the state, paid for by taxpayers' money and it is being abused for party political purposes. …

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