Zuma takes MK rally to ANC stronghold

Former president Jacob Zuma dances along with MK Party members during a rally held by the party in KwaXimba on Sunday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Former president Jacob Zuma dances along with MK Party members during a rally held by the party in KwaXimba on Sunday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 29, 2024


Former president Jacob Zuma addressed a rally of the MK Party in KwaXimba, outside Cato Ridge, on Sunday as the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC was seized with what decision to make after Zuma endorsed the newly formed party.

Zuma’s address in KwaXimba, in what was the ANC’s biggest ward by membership in the country and a stronghold, was seen as a message to the governing party that the MK Party will be a credible challenger in this year’s provincial and national elections.

Zuma told the thousands of supporters in the audience that the government’s plan to address inequality, poverty and unemployment had been on track since the advent of democracy but that this had changed.

“We have reached 30 years of freedom, and poverty and suffering have re-emerged,” Zuma said.

It was a sad reality that this was no longer happening under the oppressors but under those who had fought for freedom, he added.

He was returning to the political fold, he said, and advised the MK supporters not to listen to the rhetoric and narrative that people were using against the party or him.

He urged people to use the final voter registration weekend on February 3 and 4 to register.

Zuma made the shock announcement to campaign and vote for the MK Party on December 16, while remaining a member of the ANC, leading to intense speculation as to when the party would take disciplinary action against him.

Bheki Mtolo, the ANC’s KZN provincial secretary, told a media conference in Durban last week that all party public representatives who are participating in activities of the MK Party and other political formations have had their membership summarily suspended and will be brought before the party’s provincial disciplinary committee.

He said ANC members who associated themselves and participated actively in activities of other political parties that contest elections against the ANC are presumed to have left the ANC and voluntarily terminated their membership.

The NEC at the weekend held a lekgotla, at which the matter of whether to take immediate disciplinary action against Zuma was due to be discussed.

Zizi Kodwa, the head of ANC deployees in KZN and an NEC member, said they did not want to undermine any formation, including the MK Party.

“The analysis that the NEC is doing is not specifically on the MK Party, but how the ANC emerges victorious in the upcoming elections.”

With regard to Zuma, Kodwa said the discussion must be guided by the ANC’s constitution and the NEC would decide on that issue at the appropriate time.

“This meeting is properly constituted to make that evaluation.”

Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said the ANC was dealing with a delicate issue.

“Action should be taken against any member who has made a transgression against the party. Further delays in these disciplinary measures sends a message to the rank and file that some members of the ANC are untouchable.

“A decision should have been taken by the party’s disciplinary committee who should have already made a pronouncement and by now; the NEC should have ratified the decision.”

Another analyst, Ntsikelelo Breakfast, said the slow response by the ANC was problematic.

“You cannot say Zuma walked away by himself and the ANC can just fold its arms. That is not good enough.

“The reality is that their indecisiveness has made it worse. The reason the ANC has been reluctant to act against Zuma is because he does enjoy support within the party on a large scale, but turning a blind eye has caused more harm than good,” Breakfast said.

The Mercury