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Zuma: Citizens tend to exaggerate problems

Jacob Zuma says people wait for govt to do everything for them instead of helping themselves.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said South Africans tend to "exaggerate" the extent of their problems as they wait for government to do everything for them instead of helping themselves.

Zuma told mayors and councillors at a South African Local Government Association (Salga) National Members Assembly meeting in Midrand, if he was a dictator... in one year he would put a stop to laziness.

He said people can't complain about poverty when the land has plenty of food to feed the nation.

Zuma said people are just reluctant to change their own circumstances.

"We complain about poverty and we walk on the land which is ready to produce if you plant a seed."

He said it's always easier for communities to complain and wait for government to step in.

"We're hungry and we're walking on where food must come, don't you think there is a problem? Instead of buying a seed, put it here and have food coming out."

This year's Salga centres on going back to basics and encouraging better communication with residents.

ZUMA ACCUSTOMED TO BLAME

Zuma said he's used to South Africans always blaming him for things that go wrong in the country, but he has learned not to take it personally.

"Anything that goes wrong in the country it's 'that Zuma', I'm sure even if a person falls from a chair - 'This bloody Zuma man made me fall'."

Zuma said he's used to the strong criticism from South Africans and has lectured councillors on ways to shrug it off.

"People can call you names that's not an issue. You must not feel hurt - 'Look there is no development here because of these councillors'."

He said councillors must work closer with communities and update them on progress being made.

Zuma said if communities are regularly briefed about delays with municipal programmes or services, they won't make incorrect assumptions that lead to violent protests."