Durban — While some of former president Jacob Zuma’s diehard supporters within the ANC leadership in KwaZuluNatal are sitting on the fence regarding the Umkhonto we Sizwe Party (MK), the former Msunduzi Municipality deputy mayor is openly campaigning for it.
Thobani Zuma, who resigned from the ruling party last month, confirmed this week that he had been appointed as the KZN co-ordinator for the MK party, campaigning alongside the former president.
“I’m a member of Umkhonto and I coordinate for the MK at the provincial level,” said Thobani Zuma.
A source, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, said there were also other prominent ANC figures, including a mayor and a former MEC in the province, who were secretly working to grow the party. Some were hedging their bets between the ANC and MK as they still needed jobs.
However, Thobani Zuma said he was not in a position to divulge the names. He said the MK had become strong in the province and stronger in the Midlands where he is based.
“People joined because of their love for the MK,” said Zuma.
Another source said they were still card-carrying members of the ANC, but we are actually working for the MK.
“We know that we have fired ourselves from the ANC, because you cannot join an opposition party but still remain a member of the ANC,” said the source.
“For them it is a politics of the stomach, and only after we have worked the ground will they come out of the closet,” said a member of MK.
ANC regional secretary Samora Ndlovu, was not concerned about Thobani Zuma joining the MK, saying he was an “insignificant ward 3 treasurer”. Ndlovu said people who left the ANC no longer held positions.
“These are former leaders. I also heard through the grapevine that there are other ANC leaders who are seen wearing MK T-shirts and campaigning for the MK, and the branches have to investigate that,” said Ndlovu.
He described ANC members who defected to MK as a “few angry people”, adding: “We cannot use the whole machinery (of the ANC) to deal with MK as if it is gonna be a factor. MK is not gonna be a factor.”
He said for the past two years, Zuma’s support in the Moses Mabhida region had started dwindling. Ndlovu said since he became a regional secretary, no regional leaders went to support Jacob Zuma when he appeared at the Pietermaritzburg High Court for the arms deal-related charges.
MK national spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said MK would soon reveal the prominent ANC figures who have defected to his party.
“In politics, timing is of the essence. At the right time, you will see very, very prominent faces coming out,” said Ndhlela.
Political analyst Sakhile Hadebe said if there were ANC leaders wanting to join the MK, they would defect when Parliament closes, just before the elections.
“They are waiting for their salaries. Others are already there but they can’t (come out) because they are still in Parliament,” said Hadebe.
ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri did not respond at the time of publishing.