MKP ‘may end up in KZN opposition if it refuses to talk’

uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) leader Jacob Zuma. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) leader Jacob Zuma. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

Published Jun 10, 2024


Durban — If the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP), which received the most votes in KwaZulu-Natal, stays away from talks on how the country will be governed, it might find itself in the opposition seats in the provincial legislature.

This was the warning from University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu amid the MKP’s reluctance to enter the national dialogue.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s party, which scored 45% of the votes in the province, has been crying foul since the announcement of the election results, alleging that the elections were rigged.

“If the other parties gang up against the MKP, it is going to be impossible for them to dictate terms, which would not be a good idea because the majority voted for the MKP in the province,” said Ndlovu.

He said the MKP would have to join the talks, otherwise, if it did not get other parties with which to form the government, it would have no say, he said.

When contacted for comment, MKP provincial spokesperson Ndaba Gcwabaza referred the Sunday Tribune to the party’s national spokesperson, Nhlamulo Ndhlela, as the multiparty dialogue was handled nationally.

Ndhlela did not respond to the Sunday Tribune.

However, he was quoted in media as saying that his party was waiting for the ANC to formally invite it to the talks.

Ndlovu said, like the ANC at the national level, which received more votes than other parties, the MKP should be leading the talks about how KZN should be governed.

The ANC in the province said how the province would be governed would be determined by the outcome of the government of national unity (GNU) talks, which party president Cyril Ramaphosa announced this week.

Provincial leaders of various parties said they were waiting for an indication of the way forward from their national counterparts. They said decisions would be devolved to the province.

Sakhile Hadebe, another UKZN political analyst, said since the agreements reached at the national level would be binding on the provinces, the MKP was unlikely to be part of the KZN government if did not participate in the national talks.

“It is most likely that the MKP will end up in the opposition benches, even here in KZN where it received more votes than other parties.

“This is because provinces are not likely to contradict the national arrangement,” said Hadebe.

He said another reason the MK might not participate would be the presence of the DA in a GNU.

“I don’t see the DA working with the MKP and the EFF while the ANC is determined to work with the DA. So it is unlikely to have the MKP and the EFF in that government,” said Hadebe.

The ANC failed to secure more than 50% of the vote to run the national government in the May elections. It also lost power in KZN, where it received 17.62% of the vote trailing behind the MKP and the IFP.

ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the provincial negotiations would not be parallel to the national discussions.

“The decisions that are taken at the national level are binding on the lower level as we are part of these discussions.

“So this means the decision taken by the ANC of advocating for a government of national unity will be cascaded down to all provinces, and already engagements are on.

“However, it is not advisable to discuss this through the press,” said Mndebele.

When asked if the provincial structure of the ANC was engaging with other parties, Mndebele said: “We are talking to all political parties.”

He said among “all political leaders” the ANC was talking to were those of the MKP, and “our stance will remain the cue and the pillar read by the president”.

Soon after the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) released the election results, the MKP claimed that they were rigged. The party said it would not participate in the opening of the National Assembly and provincial parliaments and demanded that the election be rerun. The party set the condition that it would not work with “Ramaphosa’s ANC”.

However, Mndebele said the MKP had since backed down and might soon join the negotiating table. He insisted that the allegations of rigging were baseless.

“We are a leader of society and we cannot entertain all sorts of rumours and reactions, but the MKP is now changing its stance. They now want to discuss.

“So they are moving away from the rhetoric of claiming they won’t be part of this because the reality is this was a free and fair result,” he said.

Mndebele said, unlike in the coalition agreement, “every participant in government will sit down and engage about the allocation of responsibilities to each other in the best interests of our voters”.

Ramaphosa told the media after the ANC national executive committee meeting to discuss co-governing this past week that the 40% national vote for the ANC meant that the party remained pivotal in the country’s search for the way forward and that “there would be no solution without the ANC”.

“That in itself places the responsibility on the ANC to ensure that there is unity, stability, peace and progress in South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

Sunday Tribune