President Jacob Zuma says that recent civic action calling for him to step down is merely a defence of colonialism and black poverty.

He was speaking at the Twelve Apostles of Christ Church in Umgababa‚ south of Durban on Sunday.

Zuma was billed to address the Easter service at 9am but arrived well after 3pm.

He was greeted by an elated crowd of congregants who rose in song.

Speaking through a translator‚ the president said that those who had taken to the streets to march had done so in defence of the status quo.

"Our people must be able to control‚ administer and enjoy the you must be removed because you are trying to make black people wiser‚" he said.

"You saw the people in those marches‚ the type of people who have never marched before‚" Zuma added.

Zuma said that until land was returned to black people‚ the poverty of the masses would continue unabated.

"The pain and rules of apartheid are still evidence as we are still not economically free.

"Let the land of the people go back to the people because that is the reason for poverty. We are saying that the economic power should be shifted to the people so everyone can enjoy it‚" Zuma said.

"The time of poverty among blacks must come to an end. Even if they remove the president who says this‚ the next one will do the same‚" he added.

Seemingly referring to himself in the third person‚ Zuma said that he would not step down "If Zuma must leave because he is telling the truth. He cannot just walk away."

"When I was in the struggle things were bad and I was facing death. Many people said we must stop. We were called terrorists for trying to fight the white man‚" he said.

The president enjoys ardent support of the church which has‚ according to them‚ over six million members.