The ANC’s announcement of former President Jacob Zuma’s suspension from the party was “characteristically graceless, bitter and deceitful” at a time when election campaigns were beginning to gain traction.
This according to policy analyst and researcher Nkosikhulule Nyembezi, who also warned of a possible fallout from Zuma’s suspension.
“Though the party hinted it might still subject him to further disciplinary proceedings after the elections, his suspension from the ANC’s political life is long overdue. That decision could have serious consequences for the ANC and several of its high-profile leaders at the next election as the effects of factionalism continue to make themselves felt in the party structures and the compilation of candidate lists starts to produce further divisions. The consequences will be richly deserved: the whole of the ANC is complicit in the disasters of the Zuma presidency,” he said.
Zuma left the ANC, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, scrambling when he refused to campaign for it in the general elections, but instead endorsed the newly formed uMkhonto we Sizwe Party.
While he said he remained a member of the ANC, Zuma claimed the “ANC of Ramaphosa” had failed to address the many issues confronting the poor.
At the weekend, Zuma took his campaigning for the MK party to an ANC stronghold when he addressed a rally in KwaXimba, outside Cato Ridge, KZN.
Announcing the party’s decision during a media briefing on Monday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula described Zuma’s actions as reinforcing the work of the primarily right-wing opponents of the National Democratic Revolution.
“In this regard, in assuming this reactionary public posture, former President Zuma is actively asserting himself as the figurehead of counter-revolution in South Africa today. Jacob Zuma is actively impugning the integrity of the ANC and campaigning to dislodge the ANC from power, while claiming that he has not terminated his membership.
This conduct is irreconcilable with the spirit of organisational discipline and letter of the ANC constitution. This chain of events requires the organisation to invoke measures to protect and preserve its integrity and prevent further damage to its reputation,” he said.
Mbalula said the NEC relied on rule 25.60 of the ANC constitution that “if justifiable exceptional circumstances warrant an immediate decision of temporary suspension of a member without eliciting the comment or response of such member as contemplated above, the NEC, the NWC, the PEC or the PWC, as the case may be, may summarily suspend such member”.
“The NEC concluded that exceptional circumstances exist to justify and warrant an immediate decision to suspend former ANC president JG Zuma in line with rule 25.60 as stated above.
The ANC is willing, able and ready to defend the gains of freedom and our constitutional democracy. Accordingly, we call on ANC members, our alliance partners, and all South Africans to reject the agenda of the JZ-party project and all other divisive, anti-transformation and counter-revolutionary projects aimed at derailing the forward march to a national democratic society,” said Mbalula.
Ahead of his suspension, a picture of Zuma was posted on social media by his daughter with a caption: “On his day off, President Zuma is supporting local brands and doing stocktake of our land that uMkhonto we Sizwe is coming for.”
Trevor Ngwana, an activist scholar and senior lecturer based at the University of Johannesburg, said the ANC’s cowardly failure to hold Zuma accountable has come back to haunt it.
“Zuma and his MK party derive their relevance from the failures of the ANC government which Zuma was president of for almost two terms. They sing from the same hymn book of bombastic promises and solutions which sound radical – white monopoly capital and radical economic transformation – but which ignore the continuation of racial capitalism and the protection of private property which constitute the roots of the hardship and suffering of the working class and the poor in South Africa and the world. Zuma defeated Mbeki, espousing the politics of radical African nationalism within capitalism.”