Johannesburg — Those prejudiced against President Jacob Zuma thwarted the country from understanding the wider truth behind his recent remarks about pet ownership, the ANC Chief Whip said on Friday.
"Only those harbouring prejudices and hostility would have us believe that this president will take a break from holidays just to address the community about dogs," said ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga in a statement.
Motshekga said that some of the people who harboured "deep-seated anti-Zuma prejudices" included people in the media and certain political commentators.
The Star reported on Thursday that Zuma, in a speech given at Impendle in KwaZulu-Natal, had said that spending money to buy a dog and taking it to the vet and for walks, belonged to "white" culture.
The presidency then later issued a statement, in which it explained that Zuma was only trying to "decolonise the African mind" with his statements.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said that Zuma wanted "to enable the previously oppressed African majority to appreciate and love who they are".
On Friday, Motshekga said he hoped that when the media "hype" died down, South Africans would then focus on "the issues of race relations, national pride, national identity, culture and Ubuntu that the President so eloquently spoke about".
Motshekga said he planned to ensure parliament debated these issues in 2013.
Meanwhile on Friday, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said that a love of animals was not defined by race.
"There is no doubt that black Africans love their dogs and animals," said the NSPCA in a statement.
The NSPCA also said that both horses and dogs were used to protect the country and its borders.
"Man -- black and white, and dog work together -- synchronised to undertake police work against criminals, drugs and insurgents. These people form a bond with their dogs and horses." The NSPCA said it was proud that former president Nelson Mandela was its patron.