The ANC had to suspend its former president Jacob Zuma because it had to be seen as treating its members equally, political analyst Professor Levy Ndou said.
Ndou said those who would feel alienated by the party’s decision would only be those who joined Zuma, saying that those who were for the movement would understand that the ANC had to follow its constitution.
“There’s a view out there that seeks to suggest that he can do everything that he likes and there is fear that people are going to leave the ANC. That is what created a situation where Jacob Zuma would behave unacceptably,” the analyst added.
Ndou said Umkhonto weSizwe would not bring significant harm to the governing party as the former president did not have anywhere else to recruit members but from the ANC’s pond.
“Zuma has always been in the ANC and he gauges his support base on the ANC processes, so obviously if there are people who would vote for him, he could still get good numbers from the ANC.
“At the same time, if he really wants to make an impact he should extend and do much better to recruit beyond ANC members, but if he is only going to rely on ANC members only, he is going to surprise himself,” Ndou emphasised.
Furthermore, he said people shouldn’t think that the ANC’s decision to expel Zuma was done solely under pressure, but it was instead dictated by its constitution.
Meanwhile, the party’s secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, said Zuma was summarily suspended, adding that there was no 48-hour waiting period.
“This ANC that has rules, that has culture, has taken its decisions. We can’t continue to engage somebody who doesn’t want to be engaged. We have been trying to engage president Zuma since the conference, and to date, we have not met,” Mbalula said.
He further said there was no longer a need to engage the former president as he had shown that he was determined to leave the ANC.
“The option of engaging Jacob Zuma has been closed down, He has closed them down himself.”
According to the party, the National Executive Committee’s (NEC) suspension of Zuma would only be processed by the party’s disciplinary committee after the elections as the party continues with its campaign.
The ANC’s decision follows Zuma’s announcement that he will be campaigning for the newly formed Umkhonto weSizwe Party.
The ANC NEC lekgotla is currently under way in Boksburg on Gauteng’s East Rand.
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa opened the NEC lekgotla on Monday afternoon, which the party said will map the programme of action for the year ahead.