South African President Jacob Zuma travelled to his home province of Kwazulu-Natal on Sunday to launch a relief programme as part of government efforts to support areas affected by South Africa’s worst drought in more than a century.
The visit was Zuma’s first public appearance since South Africa’s constitutional court ruled on Thursday that Zuma had failed to uphold the constitution by ignoring orders from the public protector that he pays back some of the $16 million in state funds spent to renovate his private residence at Nkandla.
“Whether you are a Zuma or not, at this moment I have been given a task to be your shepherd.
“I am not going to be in power for long because my age doesn’t permit, don’t be misled by my good looks.
“I want peace in the country. There is no president that does not want peace in his country, there shall be peace in the country,” he said.
Since Thursday’s ruling, opposition party leaders, ordinary South Africans and even an anti-apartheid activist jailed alongside Nelson Mandela have called on Zuma to step down.
On Friday, the 73-year-old president gave a televised address to the nation in which he apologised and said he would pay back some of the money, as ordered.
He said that he never knowingly or deliberately set out to violate the constitution.
South Africa’s parliament will debate a motion to impeach Zuma on Tuesday.