The uprisings that have swept across the Arab countries will not happen in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said today. “There will never be uprisings in this country because our Chapter 9 institutions are working,” said Zuma in Durban.
He was speaking during the launch of the African Ombudsman Research Centre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus, the South African Press Association reports. The recently erupted and massive protests happened because people were tired of autocratic governments which had been there for a long time, Zuma said. “There have been many speculations about the cause of the protests.
The answer is simply people want to participate in the affairs of their own countries. They want governments that represent their aspirations.” A wave of protest had swept away through Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, where rebels were being bombarded by government forces. Zuma warned that there was nothing that could stop people who were hungry for freedom. South African history showed that no force, however mighty, could defeat people who wanted change.
“Exile, torture, jail or even killing did not succeed to stop the masses of South Africa from demanding their freedom and cannot succeed anywhere else,” Zuma said. He added the future of the African continent lied on building string democratic institutions. The launch was attended by the president of the African Ombudsman and Mediation Association (AOMA), Dr Paolo Tjipilica, constitutional development minister Jeff Radebe and the SA public protector, advocate Thuli Madonsela.
AOMA requested the South African government to establish the research centre at a South African university a few years ago. Zuma said the South African government respected the work of the public protector even if it disagreed with its findings. “We value these institutions of our democracy because we are proud of the constitution of our country which we worked so hard to develop,” he said.
Zuma commended the AOMA for establishing the centre, saying that he was encouraged by the fact that there were plans for AOMA to work with the African Union Commission. “We hope that these relations will extend to the other progressive and important bodies such as the Pan African Parliament and the African Human Rights Commission.”