The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has said the future of former president Jacob Zuma in the party will be decided by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
The party, which had been hoping to have Zuma lead its campaign in the province for the 2024 national government elections, was stunned on Saturday after Zuma announced that he will not be voting for the ANC and instead associated himself with a new party called uMkhonto weSizwe.
Zuma said he was disillusioned with the ANC and he would not vote for it but said he is not leaving the party.
The leaders of uMkhonto weSizwe told a broadcast channel that they have engaged Zuma and he has indicated that he was willing to stand as a presidential candidate, but added that those have been informal discussions.
The ANC in KZN seemed resigned that Zuma would not be part of their campaign. Provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said “he is not going to be campaigning for the ANC, that is what he has said, so we will continue with our campaign”.
Speaking on what action the party is likely to take following the announcement, he said the NEC will deal with the matter. But in an interview shortly after Zuma made the announcement on Saturday, Mndebele had said they will engage Zuma to try to convince him to rescind his decision.
He said they hold Zuma in high regard and will continue to engage with him and remind him of his teaching (of the importance of being part of the ANC).
He said the announcement was, however, an attempt to sway people away from the ANC.
“We call on our members to close ranks and continue to vote for the ANC, we should be loyal to the ANC, not individuals as previously taught by president Zuma.
“No loyal cadre of our movement will call upon people not to vote for the ANC because by so doing you disarm the ANC of a very essential instrument to transform the lives of the people.
“Any loyal cadre of our movement will use internal platforms to raise whatever challenges might have arisen in the movement. It is not for the first time there have been challenges in the ANC,” he said.
Attempts to speak to the ANC national office were unsuccessful.
Political analyst Daniel Silke said the move by Zuma is meant to undermine Ramaphosa and force him to act against the former president.
He said the gambit was dangerous for the ANC in that if Zuma goes ahead with the uMkhonto weSizwe party, it could further fragment the ANC, opening the door for the multiparty charter to take over the KwaZulu-Natal government. It could also embolden supporters of the ANC who are disillusioned with the party.
“They could say if Zuma can ditch the party, so can I.
“For those former ANC supporters or disgruntled ANC supporters waiting for something to push them over the edge not to vote for the ANC and vote for any of the other political parties, this kind of decision from Zuma can really destabilise the ANC vote going forward ” he said.