Zuma slams violent protests

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the “new culture of violent protests” by mine workers.

President Jacob Zuma addresses workers in Marikana, on 22 August 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma on Saturday slammed workers involved in protests in the mining sector for abandoning their trade unions.

He said unions are there to advance workers' interests and should be allowed to do their jobs.

Speaking during the Alexandra township centennial celebrations, Zuma said the deaths in Marikana could have been avoided if the miners allowed their trade unions to negotiate on their behalf.

The president warned the trend of workers wanting to negotiate without unions is dangerous and takes the country backwards.

"The new culture of violent protests which threaten lives has no place in a democratic society."

Zuma called on South Africans to do some soul searching, saying they are moving away from the values of ubuntu.

Clearly referring Julius Malema's attacks on him and other ANC leaders, Zuma criticised the use of vulgar language in public speeches.

The president said no country can be built in an environment where there is no respect and common courtesy.

Malema has been criticising Malema publicly for months now.

He was expelled from the party in April after calling Zuma a dictator.

Malema has made it clear that he wants Zuma to be removed during the Mangaung elective conference in December.

Malema says he made a mistake by supporting Zuma in Polokwane.

Malema and the ANC Youth League want Zuma to be replaced by deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

They also have been lobbying for Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula to take over from Gwede Mantashe.