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With love from Zuma — former president ditches ANC in upcoming elections, vows ‘total liberation’

With love from Zuma — former president ditches ANC in upcoming elections, vows ‘total liberation’
Former president Jacob Zuma at the announcement of the formation of the uMkhonto Wesizwe party in Soweto on 16 December 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

Infighting in the ANC has once again played out in the broader political arena. Former president Jacob Zuma (81) has declared his refusal to vote or campaign for the ANC in the 2024 elections. Instead, he will make his X with a new party, uMkhonto Wesizwe, which has not yet announced its leadership structure.

December 16 marks Reconciliation Day for South Africans and the 62nd anniversary of the ANC’s disbanded paramilitary wing Umkhonto weSizwe. The public holiday also marks the day corruption-accused former president Jacob Zuma disavowed the governing ANC in the run-up to the highly anticipated 2024 elections.

In a packed room at the YMCA in Orlando, Soweto, Zuma declared at a media briefing, to which members of the public were invited, that he could not in good conscience campaign or vote for the party he has been a part of for 62 years.

Instead, the embattled former president has opted to shuffle across the political aisle and throw his weight behind the newly registered party uMkhonto Wesizwe, named after the ANC’s military wing during apartheid.

Before Zuma’s announcement, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula had already said the ruling party intended challenging the new party, saying the name belonged to the ANC.

Zuma is facing multiple counts of corruption relating to bribes he is alleged to have taken from French arms manufacturing company Thales for the 1999 Arms Deal worth more than $1-billion. He has, however, been involved in protracted court interventions – including a bid to secure the removal of the prosecutor in the case – which has delayed proceedings. His latest bid was denied in the Supreme Court of Appeal last week. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Zuma’s Stalingrad defence disintegrates after judges quash latest legal gambit in scathing judgment

Putting the blame on President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zuma accused him of being an agent of “white monopoly capital” and being against the progress of black professionals and intellectuals. “I cannot and will not campaign for the ANC of Ramaphosa,” he said.

In a statement read on his behalf by his daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, because the former president was too unwell to speak at length, Zuma lauded the ANC as one of the most significant liberation movements, but claimed that under the guidance of leaders with “Un-ANC-like behaviour”, the governing party had “changed into an organisation we no longer recognise”.


Former president Jacob Zuma arrives to address local and international media and to announce the formation of a new political party, in Soweto on 16 December 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

Reading her father’s words, Zuma-Sambudla painted an image of Zuma’s participation in the ANC since 1958, from his time in the youth league to his time in Umkhonto weSizwe.

“Precisely because of my deep understanding and belief in the ANC, I deeply feel the pain and disappointment of witnessing this powerful organisation being reduced to an organisation that has introduced practices that are foreign to its character and mission,” his statement said.

Zuma called on South Africans and ANC members to join him in marking an X for the MK party, claiming that it seeks “total liberation and the return of our land to its rightful owners, the African people”. 

While he has withdrawn support for the ANC, Zuma insisted he is still a loyal member. “I will be a member of the ANC until I die. This is to mess with the ANC what I am doing,” Zuma said.

Zuma’s seven pressing issues 

Zuma provided a laundry list of reasons for ditching the ANC ahead of the polls after 64 years of “loyal and disciplined” service.

1 State Capture report

Zuma’s first issue was the ANC’s silence when “the powers of the president were taken away in the appointment of the Chair of the Commission on so-called State Capture”.

After Zuma’s failed legal challenge to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State Capture report, in which he was implicated, the head of the judicial inquiry was appointed by ex-Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, not the former president. 

“This symbolised an opportunistic amendment of the Constitution of South Africa,” Zuma’s statement reads. 

2 2017 national conference

Zuma claimed that, at the 2017 national conference, the position of president was stolen or bought, but met with silence by the ANC.

“Neither the leadership of the ANC in the NEC nor the membership at the most recent national conference saw the need to challenge or change that incorrect statement.”

Jacob Zuma announces the formation of a new political party in Soweto on 16 December 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

3 Ramaphosa statement on ANC-linked corruption

Zuma said another turning point was Ramaphosa’s statement that the ANC is accused number one for corruption in South Africa. The embattled former statesman shamed the party’s leaders and members for not challenging the “incorrect statement”.


4 Expulsion of Ace Magashule

The expulsion of former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is another pressing issue for Zuma, who criticised the party for “using the selective application of the so-called step-aside rule but will now allow the president, who is also facing criminal charges, to top its list for the next election”.

5 Deadly 2021 riots

Zuma also pointed the finger at the ANC and Ramaphosa for the deadly July 2021 riots, saying the party stood idle while 400 people were killed during the violence and looting in KwaZulu-Natal.

Described as a powder keg, the riots were sparked by Zuma’s incarceration on 7 July 2021 to serve a 15-month sentence for contempt of court. 

6 Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s impeachment

The last straw was when former public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was suspended and later impeached, Zuma claimed, saying her demise was due to her investigation into the Phala Phala scandal.


7 Load shedding crisis

Zuma said the load shedding crisis was one of the tipping points that led to his decision. He claimed the ANC of Ramaphosa “plunged the country into darkness with load shedding, which has ruined the economy. This could have been easily avoided by keeping the best management, which successfully prevented load shedding and adopting nuclear energy many years ago.

“For the reasons I have stated and many others that I will share with the public in the coming months, I have decided that I cannot and will not campaign for the ANC of Ramaphosa in 2024.”

What’s in store for 2024

Addressing the crowd after his statement had been read, Zuma remained tight-lipped about the extent of his involvement in the fledgling MK party, claiming his sole role was as a campaigner and voter.

When asked if he would throw his hat into the ring for a leadership position in the party, he said more would be revealed in the coming months. MK’s leadership structures would also be announced in the new year.

What was revealed, however, was that Zuma, in partnership with the new party, would convene a gathering of “progressive political formations in the coming year”.

While Zuma cited the lack of discipline in the ANC of today, questions have arisen about whether his public disavowal of the party is not ill-discipline in itself. 

However, he remained steadfast in his belief that the best way to rescue the ANC is from the outside. “The new people’s war starts from today. The only crucial difference is that instead of the bullet, this time we will use the ballot.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Con Tester says:

    This will split the ANC’s vote, at least in KZN if not further afield. That cannot be a bad thing, ever, even in spite of Zuma’s evidently self-contradictory position where he claims to remain forever a member of the ANC, but not vote for them.

    As for his “seven pressing issues,” these are all the banal whingeing of a thwarted and partially unhinged mind, with the likely exception of the Phala Phala whitewash, which is less than half of his sixth issue.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    Who cares which party he votes for? It will have little influence outside his immediate family. He cuts a pathetic figure as ageing criminal trying to cheat the wheels of justice.

  • Ritchie Morris says:

    Absolutely hilarious his daughter sitting there sprouting off his speech about white monopoly capital whilst wearing a New York Yankees peak cap. There is no MK party registered on the IEC website and it is doubtful if the IEC rules would allow the registration of a military type organisation, eg the camo a gear they wear. May as well try and register the AWB – would never be allowed, and shouldn’t be. Please Zapiro give us your next illustrative opinion on this to lighten up the year end.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    Good, let’s split the vote, and this is a great way for him to find out his relevance.

  • paul Volker says:

    If MK gets just 3-4% of the ANC vote, this despicable old crook may well have done SA a favor.

  • Brian Forbes says:

    no comment

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    You have to wonder what the strategy is here & more to the point whose behind it!
    Quite clearly JZ is daring the ANC to expel him (in fact he is begging them too and has been for some time) That the ANC haven’t can only be for one of two reasons (or a combination of the two)
    1. They fear that in firing him they gonna lose a bunch of KZN votes. 2. That JZ will feel inspired to ‘spill the beans’ on the not so small nyana skeletons of his Comrades in corruption.
    On the other hand if the ANC don’t fire him they are showing fear & weakness. Regardless of the gameplan here there is simply ‘no way’ that this is JZ acting on his own. It could be Julius at his Machiavellian finest behind it but far more likely is that this is another ‘palace revolt’ from within the ANC themselves to try weaken CR’s position.
    I don’t know how the ANC finds the time to govern (that’s a joke by the way – I know they don’t govern) it must really get in the way of their actual work. You know the work of ‘personal enrichment’ and fighting of your fellow Comrades who want to steal your personal enrichment opportunities.

    • Lebitsi Leburu says:

      I suspect the Guptas want to come back to loot more. Their WMC strategy is coming back full circle. Ramaphosa is nowhere to be found as always.

    • Maite Rabyanyana says:

      I think you’re right about all this including the Machiavellian Julius, he’s everywhere where trouble is, he must be smiling.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    This not only splits the ANC, but could also split the EFF in KZN.

  • David Mark says:

    “I will totally liberate your money from your wallet” – Zuma’s plan for total liberation

  • A reminder to those exulting in vote-splitting implications: vote-splitting is much less of a problem in a proportional representation system than in a first-past-the-post system. Any vote for an ANC breakaway party is likely to pull the government further to the radical left (and further from stability) if the ANC (as expected) fails to garner 50% of the vote and has to make concessions to form a coalition.

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    Can someone remind me anything special about Zuma

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    We are sick and tired of this circus

  • Andre Swart says:

    Just another distraction from from his ‘arms deal dilemma’ for which he’ll be jailed.

    Poor, senile agenarian taken advantage of by power hungry forces?

    Zuma’s remaining little dignity wille be sacrificed by being paraded as ‘voter bait’.

    Embarassment for the entire SA!

  • Rae Earl says:

    Zuma’s speech is the biggest load of crap I’ve read in a long time. This is the guy who sold his soul and his country to a family from India for favours and backhanders. This is the same clown who received huge payments for running a crooked arms deal which has left SA with fighter planes and submarines that don’t work. This is the same ex president who got something like 9 votes of no confidence lodged against him in parliament. Not one was accepted thanks to support from his own ANC party, so what does he do as a sign of gratitude? He chucks his comrades under the bus and tells them he won’t support them next year. A nice case of self character assassination. Thanks Mr. Zuma! You’ve just dealt your party the worst hand they could ever have expected and given us non ANC supporters a better chance of winning in 2024.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Oh, please. This ex-president who can barely count beyond 1000 now wants us to believe al this? In the world of recruiting we know that the best predictor of future success is past history. Not exactly a stellar record. Still, anything that causes the ANC any headache is fine with me. Key them expend their energy fighting each other so that we can just get on with our lives.

  • Frank Fettig says:

    Says a lot about the electorate if this criminal STILL is so important…

  • robertbreyer says:

    This is so outrageous that the only thing that comes to mind is “Inmates are now running the asylum”. I can’t wait for the Zapiro showerhead cartoon.

  • Citizen X says:

    What great news for the ANC, hope you take your corrupt members with you too, and just maybe the ANC can resuscitate itself and serve the people of this country as it was intended in the Freedom Charter. But I do not hold out any hope… Ramaphosans of the ANC are equally unimpressive.

  • hlavatican says:

    Another day another party… 365 parties by election time. I Love democracy🤦

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      My prayer as i go into the xmas back is for all south africans to vote with their minds not hearts, please guys its the festive again lets try to be safe DM crew and followers you have been engaging and constructive in an invisible way lets build the rainbow nation we set out to build in 1994 before s…started happening and we are at the bottom of the ladder

  • Walter Spatula says:

    The ANC supported this miscreant through half a dozen votes of no confidence, each of which cost the country dearly. Suck it up, comrades.

  • Mark K says:

    I have nothing to say right now. Never interrupt an opponent when he’s making a mistake.

  • Confucious Says says:

    Sing him a hymn….

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Only in Mzanzi,he should be in jail for high treason

  • Andre Swart says:

    hmmmm … Umhonto we Sizwe fighters in uniform …?

    Perhaps a strategy to split the EFF wannabee fighters by sucking them into the ANC wannabees?

    After the election the ANC can form a coalition with …. well … the ANC’s own MK!

    No need for the ANC to form a coalition with the Mickey Mouse red beret fighters of COC Malema!

    Worth the try?

  • Robert Morgan says:

    Excellent, another wheel off the cadre clown car. ANC heading towards full self-destruct mode. Popcorn shares, anyone? This circus is leaving town.

  • Denise Smit says:

    Who wrote his speech, his attorney Dali Mpofu perhaps? Julius Malema strategally weakening the ANC to get votes for the EFF?

  • Jan Minnie says:

    Fantastic News. Now the “CancER” party has the EFF and Zuma’s new party to deal with. Splitting the “CancER” party vote is excellent news. I hope he gets lots of votes!

  • Thaluki Balunga says:

    Head clown living in a corrupt fools paradise.. what a fool… and people still follow this joker???? Unbelievable!!

  • Robert Mashele says:

    After all lootings and corruption, who can vote for JZ, Ace any JZ associated individuals, what JZ announced is going to assist ANC to do better in next year election.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Spoke in a packed room….not a hall, not a sports venue, not a stadium.

  • Ivan van Heerden says:

    Zuma is like the drol that just won’t flush away. Just when you think the stinker has gone where it belongs there it is grinning at you going “hehehehehe” and smelling up the place

  • Larry.vermaak says:

    The man is senile and fucked the country up already.

  • Vas K says:

    I’m sure the irony of criticizing what he single-handedly corrupted and destroyed is lost on this innumerate creature.

  • Johan Herholdt says:

    I no longer have a country to sell, but my kids explained that I could franchise my support. Here is a taster of what I can do for your party. Price? Negotiable, but special price until Christmas. Ten hundred and five thousand …? … No, no. Ten thousand and five .. ?? How does it go again? Ag, talk to Zuma-Sambudla if you want a good deal.

  • Les Thorpe says:

    We shouldn’t over-react here. Remember the ANC’s motto is: “Say one thing, do the opposite, mostly do nothing”. In a week’s time, we may well learn that old Zupta says that he has been misquoted (an example of WMC’s mischievous intent?) and that he will always vote for the ANC, that his MK party was never intended to be an alternative to his beloved ANC. Just recall the recent resignation, all the media hype around it, and then almost immediate retraction of one of the ANC’s veterans, Mavuso Msimang. Nothing’s for real in S.A.’s political landscape.

  • Vincent Britz says:

    The war of the corrupt ANC politicians! That’s all it is!! 99% of ANC politicians have been in some way or form been involved with corruption or some form of thuggery to inrich themselves! That’s just the true facts!

  • Roger Ress says:

    Derek Hanekom said they have no choice but to expel Zuma from the ANC. That’s over 10 years too late…

  • Andrew W says:

    The last kicks, of a dying bull (sh*tter). And right in the ANC’s nuts! To beautiful, you can’t make this up. Santa Clause is early this year. I guess you truly get the leaders you deserve!

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Who knew he had such a talent for comedy? “Progressive political formations” indeed! AKA a collection of the worst of the worst? Really, no one could make this stuff up – and take that in both senses. Viva Zuma! As one born on the same day of the same year, I salute both his strength – and stupidity…….

  • Political floor crossing is not a new thing, JZ is exercising his rights, whether it is being ill disciplined, is not even a question, if he does not see the ANC as vehicle for his political life then let the man be already.

  • Malibongwe Kufa says:

    I do not think uMkhonto Wesizwe it a stand alone party. It’s just another weapon for the ANC since we all know that MK was a military for ANC during apartheid. ANC with MK are devising a plan as all the small parties said they would do against ANC. Look at the most of MK members. Where did they come from? Which party are they from? Everything is just still ANC.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The problem is the quality of our media that fails to interrogate issues and give a proper context to them. The first issue that the media failed to interrogate are the decisions to integrate MK into the SANDF by the ANC and its military commanders that is part of the settlement of the country. The ANC has propriety to the name MK and Zuma was peddling his known lack of education to say that MK was formed outside the ANC. He knows that it was an ANC structure by resolution. This is the same as NEPAD and AU with NEPAD integrated as a programme of the AU. The other issue is that MK belongs to the veterans of the organisation for the welfare of its ex combatants and Zuma knows that. Thirdly as a constituent part of the SANDF Zuma is committing a criminal offence of seeking to break the SANDF and to politicise its constituent part that formally integrated into the SANDF. The pathological liar called Zuma was part of the ANC negotiations team in which he appears in its many photos with a wide smile. He was part of the decisions of Codesa in which he now knows nothing about. If there is any traitor there is none worse than him. The rubbish he was saying in his none announcement, includes the issue of Magashule which he fails to explain why he did not raise in the ANC NEC and Conference. Mbeki raised the issues regarding NDZ in the NEc and in public. Regarding the 2017 Conference he himself had proceeds of crime and corruption to buy delegates but this time he failed.

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