The Jacob Zuma-backed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party says it will continue discussions with like-minded parties which share its values ahead of the coming general elections.
It is understood that 10 left-aligned parties have held discussions with the MK Party in recent weeks, with former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule confirming that the African Congress for Transformation (ACT) had joined forces with it.
The PAC and Black First Land First have also indicated willingness to work with the Zuma-backed party.
MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlela said they would continue discussions with like-minded and progressive parties.
“We are always open to discussion with other parties that share the same values but no decision has been taken.
If any decision is taken we will communicate these but right now none have been taken,” said Ndlela.
Last week, Magashule said both parties would soon unveil plans for a joint political future.
The move could further dilute support for the ANC, which has struggled in recent polls and could see its share of the vote drop below 50% for the first time since the advent of democracy in 1994.
“We are going to work with uMkhonto weSizwe. We have been engaging with other radical, progressive parties to ensure that in 2024 South Africa changes for the better,” Magashule told supporters in Pietermaritzburg last week.
“It’s going to be a pleasure to work with uBaba Msholozi, uMkhonto weSizwe and bring back the dignity of the black person and South Africans.”
However, Magashule said ACT would contest the elections independently: “We have registered with the IEC, we’re going to be on the ballot contesting elections as ACT.”
Late last year, Zuma shook the political terrain of the country when he announced that he would campaign and vote for the newly formed MK Party.
Zuma told a press conference that “it would be a betrayal” to campaign for the ANC under President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The new people’s war starts from today,” said Zuma. “The only crucial difference is that instead of the bullet, this time we will use the ballot.”
The ANC – Zuma’s political home for more than 60 years – is biding its time in deciding what to do about the former president and other party members who are openly campaigning for the MK Party.
Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe described the emergence of the party as a realignment that would shape the mushrooming of new parties.
“Had MK been announced earlier, some parties like ACT would not have been formed as they share the same perspective and ideology.
“Many of these smaller parties are pushing elements that have been abandoned by the ANC.”
Seepe said the emergence of left-leaning parties was in response to the ANC’s failure to address the “material conditions of African people“.
He said the ANC had neglected the resolutions taken at its 2017 elective conference, and opened the door for smaller political parties to emerge.
“If the ANC had stuck to the 2017 resolutions then most of these smaller parties would not have seen the light of day.
“These parties have emerged in response to the resolutions that were meant to address African progress,” Seepe said.