Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma has hit back at his successor Cyril Ramaphosa for referring to his nine-year tenure in office as the “nine lost years”.
President Ramaphosa is on record as saying that twice, earlier this month ahead of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) 107 anniversary and last week in Davos.
Mr Zuma has taken to Twitter to hit back, saying when he took over as president, he never placed blame on his predecessor or pointed to any of their perceived failings.
“I never once blamed any predecessor or pointed to any perceived failing of any predecessor when I came to the leadership. I focused on what we would do and achieve in the ANC, and we focused on achieving those things. There is no such thing as nine wasted years behind us,” Mr Zuma wrote via Twitlonger.
He challenged the Ramaphosa administration to be united and focus on positive stories ahead of this year’s election.
“We are in an election year and it is not advisable for us to subscribe to the lie that the past decade has been a completely wasted one. It was the ANC in charge and we should not be taking such a message of defeatism to those who have given us their votes and trust,” he said in the lengthy piece.
Mr Zuma warned the current ANC leadership to take a lesson from what happened in the Gauteng metros in 2017. In that particular municipal election, the ANC was piped by opposition parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in its traditional stronghold Gauteng.
“We should be campaigning positively: We should be telling our people the truth of what we have done and will still be doing. That is how we won our elections over the past two terms, and in the elections before those. The ANC is a positive force for good in our society and that is the message we should be telling. That is the message I am sharing now on the campaign trail as I continue to work with all I have for the ANC to regain the two-thirds majority it needs to take the country forward,” he said.
The ANC is deeply divided with one faction backing the incumbent, while Mr Zuma still enjoys a lot of support from another section.
A key Zuma lieutenant, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, last year told a KwaZulu-Natal audience that it was “just a matter of five years” before his faction regained control of the party.