Zuma vows to eradicate corruption

The president says govt will intensify the fight against corruption in the private and public sector.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - As South Africans digest the Public Protector's Nkandla report, President Jacob Zuma says government will intensify the fight against corruption in the private and public sector.

Zuma addressed a Human Rights Day event at the George Thabe Stadium in Sharpeville earlier today where thousands of South Africans commemorated the Sharpeville Massacre.

President Jacob Zuma delivered a keynote address at the George Thabe Stadium in Sharpeville on Human Rights Day on 21 March. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

On this day in 1960, 69 people were killed while taking part in an anti-pass law protest in Sharpeville.

The day was declared Human Rights Day in 1994 and serves as a reminder that the country's constitution protects the rights of all citizens regardless of their skin colour.

Zuma said today marks a sad today in South Africa's history and told the crowd the country is a much better place today.

"We lost our compatriots to the brutal system of apartheid, so in their memory, let's build our country together using the lessons of the past 20 years."

Zuma also said government will try harder to eradicate corruption and improve the lives of people.

"We know that our people are troubled by corruption and want to see it eradicated in our country.

Government will intensify the fight against corruption."

Zuma received a hero's welcome while a representative of the Democratic Alliance (DA) was booed and jeered on stage.

The president and Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor also handed over smart identity cards to 12 survivors of the Sharpeville Massacre.

Several political parties delivered short messages on stage.

The African People's Convention was the first political party to mention Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report, slating the findings.

Madonsela on Wednesday released her much-anticipated report on the over R200 million upgrades following a two-year long investigation.

Her report found Zuma and his family improperly benefitted from the upgrades and called on the president to account to Parliament within two weeks.

She said government failed to exercise power within the law and in the public interest.

Just a few metres outside the stadium, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) set up its own stage to commemorate the day.

EFF leader Julius Malema addressed crowd of EFF and Pan Africanist Congress members outside the stadium, saying everyone must help him correct the fact he once supported Zuma.

"History has allowed us to correct the mess we created in 2009. This is a mess we aren't proud of. We regret the day we supported this mess."

Malema on Thursday laid criminal charges against Zuma at the Sunnyside Police Station in Pretoria over the Nkandla debacle.

The DA also laid charges against the president at the Nkandla police station in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.

The charges against Zuma relate to the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act as well as defeating the ends of justice.

Meanwhile, AgangSA Leader Mamphela Ramphele spoke at a Human Rights Day event in Langa this afternoon.

Ramphele also laid wreathes in memory of those who lost their lives in Langa during the Sharpeville Massacre.

"Langa is one of the townships that are often forgotten but people were also shot and killed on that day and we shouldn't forget that."

The DA's Human Rights Day celebrations took a sour turn after a stoning incident earlier this afternoon.

The party's Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said the bus he was travelling in was stoned by ANC supporters near the Sharpeville Memorial.

Maimane said members were on their way to lay wreathes to commemorate those who died at the hands of police.

Travelling with him were the families of Hector Pieterson, one the students killed during the 1976 Soweto Uprising and Tshepo Babuseng, who was shot dead in January allegedly by a policeman during a protest in Durban Deep.

Maimane said the DA had to postpone its event.

"They blocaded the road, attacked us and threw stones at our car which meant the event we had planned had to be postponed."


The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has expressed concern that not enough people are aware of what this means.

The HRC's Kayum Ahmed said very few of the country's citizens were familiar with the contents of the Bill of Rights.

"A recent Foundation for Human Rights study that is going to be released later this year [found that] less than 10 percent of South Africans have read the Bill of Rights or had it read to them, and that's a very shocking statistic."

However, he said he's "cautiously optimistic" that this will improve.

"I think it is a call on people to actually get to grips with the Bill of Rights and what it contains and also, of course, the obligations that people have towards each other."

Ahmed said the South African Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world.