The first official event of President Jacob Zuma’s new term is already controversial.
Not only did heads of state from across the world, but especially the West, snubbed the ANC and Zuma by not attending his inauguration, but the government is still refusing to answer questions about the cost of the event for taxpayers, says Dr. Corné Mulder, chief whip of the FF Plus.
He says it is quite meaningful that only heads of African states and small islands around the continent were present.
“The real world weighed President Zuma and his government and found him to be too light. It is tragic that South Africa is increasingly being cut off from the centre of world power and influence.
“It was noticeable that in contrast with the inauguration with all the presidents since 1994, not a single head of state of vice president or minister from any country in Europe, central Europe, North America or the East had attended the event.
“From South America, only Brazil’s vice president was present. Even with the Brics countries, nobody from China or Russia attended the inauguration.
“Significantly, the loudest applause was reserved for Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe and to a lesser extent for one of the vice presidents from Cuba,” Dr. Mulder said.
Regarding the cost of the inauguration, Dr. Mulder says that the government will be pressurised to provide answers to this.
“Until now the standard excuse was that the expenses will be in line with former minister finance’s so-called ‘austerity measures’.
“Five years ago, it cost less than R80 million. This time an amount of R120 million has been mentioned already. This, while millions of people are going hungry and food has to be brought to striking mine workers who are holding the state ransom and are paralysing the economy.
“It is unacceptable. We want to know how much money has been spent and how it was used as the most influential countries had merely delegated its diplomatic personnel in South Africa to attend the inauguration,” Dr. Mulder said.
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