Hostilities simmer as MK is to hold rally in ANC stronghold

Ramaphosa visits Shembe leader in an apparent counter to the Zuma led MK Party rally. Picture: EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

Ramaphosa visits Shembe leader in an apparent counter to the Zuma led MK Party rally. Picture: EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

Published Jan 28, 2024


Durban — The newly formed Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party says it will demonstrate its muscle today (Sunday) by pulling a large crowd when hosting a mini rally at KwaXimba near Cato Ridge outside Durban, an area once known to be home of the largest branch of the ANC in the country.

Today’s (Sunday) rally, set for the Olwandle Sports Ground, will feature the MK Party’s top brass including former president Jacob Zuma who has been drumming up support for the party across the country since its launch in December.

Zuma’s mobilising of support in many parts that are regarded as ANC strongholds was also expected to be part of the discussions when the ruling party held its National Executive Committee meeting in Gauteng on Friday and Saturday.

The ANC leaders have been critical of Zuma’s recent actions, arguing that they illustrated selfishness and demonstrated an individual who regarded himself as being above the organisation.

“You see in politics you cannot belong to two different political parties with two differing visions. When you represent one organisation it means that you have left the other one,” said ANC KZN secretary Bheki Mtolo in an apparent reference to Zuma in a media briefing this week.

He indicated that the provincial executive committee had taken a decision to summarily suspend the membership of members who had participated in the activities of other parties contesting the elections, adding that they were deemed to have left the ruling party through their actions.

Speaking to the Sunday Tribune this week, Musa Mkhize, who had been an ANC Ward 3 councillor in eThekwini for two terms between 2011 and 2021 but has now crossed to the MK Party, said they were not moved by the statements made against Zuma. He said they were ready to demonstrate their might.

Mkhize said there was no doubt that the party was growing.

“At the moment we have 7 444 paid-up members in this ward. Those are the ones that we are able to account for and more are joining,” Mkhize said, adding that this would be demonstrated at the rally.

Mkhize pointed out that the venue was chosen because the area had a history of Struggle with many of the former ANC leaders having visited as part of paying homage to the people who had fought against oppression.

He said today’s rally would also demonstrate that the party enjoyed support beyond the borders of KwaZulu-Natal, this in an apparent rebuke of the recent statement from the ANC Youth League which said the MK Party was centred on Zuma and limited to KZN.

“The rally is organised by the people of South Africa not Jacob Zuma or Musa Mkhize. It is for the people by the people of the country. People feel neglected by the current government and believe in the MK Party as well as Zuma’s leadership and have been waiting for it for a while. People from this area have supported former president Zuma throughout his court appearances and it was only appropriate that when a mini rally is held, it is here,” Mkhize said.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa visited the leader of the Nazareth Baptist Church, also known as Shembe Church, inkosi Mduduzi “Unyazi Lwezulu” Shembe, on Saturday. The visit by Ramaphosa appeared to be part of a strategy to counter the Zuma effect as the ANC continued with its campaign in different parts of KZN.

Sunday Tribune