President Jacob Zuma said the Masibambisane food-security project would continue to be rolled out around the country despite its critics.
Zuma is the chairperson of the Masibambisane NGO, which is run by his cousin, Deebo Mzobe.
On Sunday, City Press reported that Zuma had coaxed government departments into committing nearly R900 million to a programme run by Masibambisane.
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Zuma was speaking in Ngcingwana village in Dutywa, Eastern Cape, where he visited a place where crops were being harvested.
“Masibambisane will continue, it will go forward and will not stop, though other people are criticising the project, it won’t stop because it is helping people,” Zuma said.
In a brief interview with the media before he was scheduled to speak at the event, the president said the project was meant to provide food security, more especially in rural communities.
Mzobe was present at the event in Dutywa, which was also attended by amaXhosa king Zwelonke Sigcawu, who had earlier welcomed Zuma at his Nqadu Great Place.
Thousands braved the chilly and rainy weather to attend the event at Dutywa.
Zuma heaped praise on the project and credited the partnership between government and communities for making it a success.
“Such projects are very good because they are initiated by the communities and then government comes in. It’s a winning partnership between government and communities. We are in other provinces as well, not just here in the Eastern Cape. Last week I was in KZN seeing similar kinds of initiatives and people are happy,” Zuma said.
The president was flanked by a number of his Cabinet ministers, including Malusi Gigaba, Thulas Nxesi, Gugile Nkwinti, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Edna Molewa.
Also present was Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet, a number of her MECs and Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj.
Zuma said the work that was happening in Ngcingwana was part of celebrating Madiba month and honouring the former state president Nelson Mandela in his own province.
“This is Mandela month. What we are doing here is part of celebrating his life (Madiba’s), that what we are doing and tomorrow (July 18) we will continue,” Zuma said.
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