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Zuma tells supporters to look past criticism from opposition parties

The ANC hosted a birthday celebration for the president on the same day that thousands of opposition supporters marched on the Union Buildings calling for him to resign.

President Jacob Zuma and his wife Thobeka Madiba-Zuma in Soweto for his 75th birthday celebration. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma has told the party's supporters not to concern themselves with criticism by opposition parties, as that is the job of the opposition.

Zuma made the remarks while addressing his 75th birthday celebration in Kliptown, Soweto on Wednesday evening.

The ANC is hosting the event on the same day that thousands of opposition supporters marched on the Union Buildings calling for him to resign.

Speaking in Zulu, the president told his supporters that he is not worried that people call him names, adding that he had been called names for years.

He says he will not stress when that happens because stress is ‘white people’s illness’.

Zuma told supporters not to get scared when South Africans and opposition parties march against him, saying they are just being the opposition.

The president criticised opposition parties for approaching the courts when they disagree with him or the ANC, adding that he believes that is not democratic.

At the same time, Sdumo Dlamini who is representing the Congress of South African Trade Unions, seems to contradict the party’s position after it called for Zuma's resignation– saying Cosatu and its workers are right behind the president.

“We wish that you, during these hard, trying times as a father, as a husband as a leader, remain strong.”
uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association Chair Kebby Maphatsoe took the time to remind South Africans the president is going nowhere.

“Comrade President, you are the unifier of the ANC and you will continue leading the party until 2017 and you will continue leading the country until 2019.”

South African Civic Organisation (Sanco) and some pastors also had a message of support for the president, saying the reason people are marching against him is because he wants land to be returned to its rightful owners.

Four of the ANC top six did not attend the event.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)