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South Africa: President Jacob Zuma


Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (born 12 April 1942) is the President of South Africa,elected by parliament following his party's victory in the 2009 general election.
Zuma is the President of the African National Congress (ANC), the governing political party, and was Deputy President of South Africa from 1999 to 2005.Zuma is as well referred to by his initials JZand his clan name Msholozi. Zuma became the President of the ANC on 18 December 2007 after defeating incumbent Thabo Mbeki at the ANC conference in Polokwane.

He was re-elected as ANC leader at the ANC conference in Manguang on 18 December 2012, defeating challenger Kgalema Motlanthe by a large majority. Zuma was as well a member of the South African Communist Party (SACP),briefly serving on the party's Politburo until he left the party in 1990. On 20 September 2008, Thabo Mbeki announced his resignation after being recalled by the African National Congress's National Executive Committee. The recall came after South African High Court Judge Christopher Nicholson ruled that Mbeki had improperly interfered with the operations of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), including the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for corruption.


Fellow South Africans

It gives me great pleasure today to address the nation on this significant day in our national calendar; the National Day of Reconciliation. Our theme for the Day of Reconciliation this year is entitled, “Towards Building a Cohesive Nation at Peace with Itself and its Neighbours”. 

Our society has witnessed and endured centuries and decades of conflict, oppression, deprivation and destitution.
This was as a result of colonial and apartheid rule that sought to denigrate and dehumanize people because of the colour of their skin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, creed, ethnic origin and political affiliation.
Because of the deep divisions in the past, December 16 before 1994 meant different things to different people, depending on their racial or ethnic background or even their ideological orientation. 
For some it was the symbol of triumph, for others, the symbol of defeat or alternatively a potent symbol of resistance.
Phenomenal strides have been made by this nation in the past 18 years in promoting national unity and reconciliation.
We have this year dedicated time to build monuments and memorials and to rename significant geographical features to pay tribute to men and women who paid the supreme sacrifice for our freedom.
But we know that we should do more than that to achieve true reconciliation.We need to bridge the inequalities, intensify the fight against poverty, combat crime and drug abuse; champion the interest of women, children and people with disability and combat all forms of racist, tribal and xenophobic tendencies.
We must use our national days to embark upon programmes that demonstrate that we are indeed united in our diversity.
We should also embrace the values of Ubuntu which include human solidarity, generosity, hospitability, friendliness, caring, compassion, harmony, forgiveness and neighbourliness. This is a responsibility of all South Africans, not just government.

Happy National Reconciliation Day to you all.

I thank you. 

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