Mbete joins ANC chorus of condemnation of Zuma’s support for MK Party

Former ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency/ANA

Former ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency/ANA

Published Mar 24, 2024


Former president Jacob Zuma’s endorsement of the recently-founded uMkhonto weSizwe Party has sent a cold shiver through the majority of ANC members.

Joining the chorus of condemnation of Zuma’s actions, former National Assembly speaker and the ruling party’s former national chairperson, Baleka Mbete, has expressed her shock and disbelief at Zuma’s move.

Mbete said she was embarrassed by the former president’s decision to campaign against a party that, according to her, was way bigger than any other political organisation.

She said she could not understand why someone like Zuma would consider themselves a leader in an organisation that was more than a century old, and yet campaign against it.

“You can’t be a member of the ANC and campaign against it; that’s a contradiction. He has defined himself as not subscribing to the values of what let us struggle,” she said.

Mbete was speaking on the sidelines of an event in Johannesburg over the weekend to commemorate the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angloa in the 1980s.

The former speaker’s comments follow those of several party leaders and unionists, who have expressed their disappointment and regret over once supporting Zuma.

The most recent of these was trade unionist Zwelinzima Vavi, who a week ago described his once support for the former president a “tragic mistake”, saying he still blamed himself for playing a crucial role in Zuma’s ascent to the Union Buildings.

In a series of interviews, Vavi revealed he was convinced by certain members of the SA Communist Party to support Zuma.

This past Friday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula suggested that former party leaders, including Zuma, were behind attempts to decrease the party’s base by establishing smaller parties.

Mbalula said the ANC was alert to the scheme, and expected these masterminds to up the ante by influencing the rise of many small political parties.

However, they were aware of this and ready to face them.

ANC Youth League president Collen Malatji also entered the fray earlier this month, saying the gravest mistake the party had made was giving a “a Grade 2 dropout”, referring to Zuma, a chance to lead the country for a decade.

Malatji made the remark while addressing the ANC Youth League Peter Mokaba Volunteers Rally at the Alexandra Stadium in Alexandra, Johannesburg.

Zuma announced his decision not to vote nor campaign for the ANC in December last year, saying he would instead be voting for a newly-formed political party in the upcoming general elections.

The Star

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