Jacob Zuma’s 20 controversial quotes


The utterances of Jacob Zuma regularly raised eyebrows over the years.
Women, sexuality, Jesus and the media have all featured prominently as the president aired his opinions during
campaign rallies and speeches and in Parliament.
Here are 20 of some of Zuma’s most infamous remarks:
On religion, tradition and family
1. “God expects (the ANC) to rule this country because we are the only organisation which was blessed by pastors
when it was formed. It is even blessed in Heaven. That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back.”
2. “Same-sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God. When I was growing up, ungqingili (“homosexuals”
in Zulu) could not stand in front of me, I would knock him out.”
3. “People today think being single is nice. It’s actually not, right. That’s a distortion. You’ve got to have kids. Kids
are important to a woman because they give extra training to a woman – to be a mother.”
4. “The ancestors are turning their backs against you if you leave the ANC, and you will have bad luck.”
5. On teenage mothers: “They must be taken and be forced to go to school, far away… They must be educated by government until they are empowered and they can take care of their kids. Take them to Robben Island or any
other island, sit there, study until they are qualified to come back and work to look after their kids.”
6. “Even if you straighten your hair, you will never be white.”
7. “Some Africans who become too clever take a position (where) they become the most eloquent in criticising
themselves about their own traditions and everything.”
8. “A shower would minimise the risk of contracting the disease (HIV/Aids).”
On criminality and culpability
9. “As a citizen of this country, I’ve got to be honest to the people of South Africa.”
10. “Me? Well, I don’t know, I must go to a dictionary and learn what a crook is. I’ve never been a crook.”
11. “Our media, which is very open and reports on really everything, tends to exaggerate the crime issue… This is
why one gets the impression that we have much more crime than other countries.”
12. “I’m not scared of jail. I’ve been to jail during the struggle.”
13. “The truth is I am not a thief and there is no evidence to support this claim. That is why I am not bothered by
such accusations. The truth is those who are accusing me of stealing are the ones who are enriching themselves
through theft. I know who they are.”
14. “Each time when I come here (Parliament), I am abused by members of your Parliament, because instead of
answering questions I sit here being called a criminal, a thief. I think this house must do something about it.”
15. Zuma on questions by the opposition in Parliament: “Nkandla, Nkandla, Nkaaandlaaa…Thixo wase George
Goch (God of George Goch)!”
On politics
16. “Sorry, we (the ANC) have more rights here because we are a majority (party). You (the opposition) have fewer
rights because you are a minority. Absolutely, that’s how democracy works. So, it is a question of accepting the
rules within democracy and you must operate in them.”
17. “Young people are called ‘born frees’, that is plain propaganda. They are making you out to be idiots. Young
people know the struggle, they were born in the struggle hence they live in informal settlements.”

18. “Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival in Cape Town was the beginning of all South Africa’s problems.”
19. “I would prefer to leave after one term. Even if it is not one term, I think in the second term I should be able
to… begin the process of winding down. I would allow open debate, not make people guess what is going to
happen in terms of succession. This would allow the organisation to indicate what it wants. But if it was me
deciding, if the ANC had made me president of the country (I would prefer one term).”
20. “I’m in charge of the government, I appoint, in terms of the constitution. There is no minister here who was
appointed by the Guptas or anyone else, they were appointed by me.”



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