Zuma a no-show at his own rally

‘Forward with reshuffle forward’… just once of the chants from the #ANCYL at the Germiston stadium this evening. Image by: Julia Housdon‏
Zuma was locked in meetings with the ANC Working Committee in Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

He had been scheduled to attend a rally at Germiston Stadium on the East Rand where he was to address supporters from the ANC Youth League and MK Veterans. The event is believed to have been called to rally support for Zuma who has been under fire since he axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

Organisers told about 300 supporters that the executive mayor of Ekurhuleni and ANCYL executives would address them. “The president will join while we are in the programme (sic)” an announcer said.

Organisers kept supporters‚ who they provided with food and cooldrinks‚ singing and dancing to gospel music and popular DJs.

As evening fell‚ it was unclear whether Zuma would still attend.

Earlier today‚ Zuma‚ speaking in Pretoria at the launch of Africa’s first locally built locomotive at Transnet’s engineering yard‚ said the reshuffle and appointment of Malusi Gigaba as finance minister had “gone off smoothly”.

[pullquote]”We thank Mr Gordhan for the smooth transition.[/pullquote]

“I want to assure all South Africans that the economy is critical to us the government.”

Asked about the downgrade and the effect on the economy‚ Zuma giggled before his bodyguards pushed journalists away.

Graeme Hosken

– Tiso Black Star Group/The Times