The South Africa government has backed its president, Jacob Zuma, for referring to Malawi as one of the poorest nations with bad roads infrastructure in Africa.
The presidency claimed on Tuesday said President Jacob Zuma’s remarks on Gauteng e-tolls were distorted by the media.
Zuma on Monday evening said, “We can’t think like Africans in Africa generally. We’re in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It’s not some national road in Malawi.”
Zuma made the comments at the Gauteng ANC Manifesto Forum at the University of the Witwatersrand in the commercial city of Johannesburg.
Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj defended the address.
In a telephone interview presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj clarified Zuma's remarks by saying what the president means is that Gauteng roads can’t be compared to roads in other countries or towns.
“The words have regrettably been taken out of context and blown completely out of proportion.”
Maharaj says Zuma means comparisons shouldn’t be made as Gauteng is “the heartbeat of South Africa’s economy.”
“The remarks were made in the broader context of South Africa.”
Zuma defended e-tolls, saying Gauteng motorists should bear the brunt of the extra costs necessary to keep the province running.
“The roads are to be tolled to pay back the money we borrowed to build the freeways – to make the economy flow in Johannesburg.”