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MK party’s ‘mission impossible’ to win votes to amend Constitution to re-elect Zuma as SA president

MK party’s ‘mission impossible’ to win votes to amend Constitution to re-elect Zuma as SA president
Former president and uMkhonto Wesizwe party leader Jacob Zuma visits Shekainah Healing Ministries in Philippi on 10 March 2024. (Photo: Velani Ludidi)

The MK party appears to be targeting an amendment of the Constitution to allow its leader, Jacob Zuma, to become the country’s president again. That prospect, however, appears extremely unlikely.

The uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party, led by former president Jacob Zuma, is forging ahead with plans to allow Zuma to have another go at the Presidency.

The party ambitiously aims to achieve a two-thirds majority in the upcoming elections and amend the Constitution to allow Zuma to become president again.

MK’s chances of winning a two-thirds majority are extremely slim as most new parties struggle to get close to 10%. Even the ANC has only once won a two-thirds national majority – in 2004. A poll released by the Social Research Foundation in February suggested MK could win more than 20% in KwaZulu-Natal, where it appears most popular.

Zuma is number one on MK’s candidate list for Parliament. 

The former president spent the weekend campaigning for the party in Cape Town and finished off on Sunday with a visit to Themba Mpetha, the son of late apartheid activist Oscar Mpetha, in Nyanga. He also visited Shekainah Healing Ministries in Philippi, where he delivered a keynote speech to congregants. 

The MK party is already facing internal fights in Western Cape, and Zuma met with members to try to defuse the situation. Another prominent figure to have joined the party is former ANC member Faizel Moosa. 

While Zuma did not explicitly say he wants to amend the Constitution to allow him to stand for the Presidency again, he said in his address to the congregation that there were changes to be made to the Constitution, and his MK Party, with the support of the electorate, could make those changes. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Fact-check – Is Jacob Zuma’s MK now the biggest party in South Africa?

“We need to ask God to grant us the two-thirds majority through you,” he said.

“This is important because we would have given ourselves the strength to change the character of the nation and end poverty. It will help us change the laws that are currently oppressing us.” 

He reiterated that he supported military training for young people after completing high school and building a university on Robben Island where pregnant young girls would be sent together with their partners to study. 

“We will build refinery firms for our minerals to be refined in the country. Factories will be built in areas where most of our people stay so that they do not have to go to other provinces to find employment.” 

Ineligible

Zuma is ineligible to become president again for multiple reasons, including that he has already served two terms as president. 

Section 88(2) of the Constitution prohibits him from serving a third term. But the MK’s Siyabonga Nqanqase argues that Zuma resigned in the last year of his second term, which was completed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

“If you went into matric and did not complete, it does not mean you have matric,” he said. 

The second hurdle is that Zuma cannot become a Member of Parliament (MP). The Constitution requires that the president be elected from among MPs, as stated in section 86(1).

Section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution disqualifies anyone convicted and sentenced to 12 months or more in prison without a fine from becoming an MP .

Nxamalala, as he is affectionately known, was convicted of contempt of court in July 2021 and sentenced to 15 months in prison. He will be eligible to become an MP only in October 2027 at the earliest.

A Constitution Amendment Bill, which aims to effect changes to the basic values of the Constitution, requires a supporting vote to be passed by at least 75% of the members of the National Assembly and at least six provinces in the National Council of Provinces.

“It is about the will of the people,” said Visvin Reddy, who doubles as an MK Party member and leader of the African Democratic Change (ADeC). He is also a councillor in eThekwini municipality representing the ADeC. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: IEC must act urgently against threats of electoral violence in SA

“If the electorate wants Zuma as president and they vote for him, we will amend the Constitution. MK is the biggest party and a two-thirds majority is on the horizon. Voters who left the ANC to join other parties have now joined the MK,” Reddy said.

He said if the party failed to achieve its goal, it would work with like-minded parties to achieve it.

Reddy recently made headlines when he threatened violence should the MK not be on the ballot. The ANC believes the process of registering MK was unlawful

Reddy apologised for his words, saying he did not want to incite any violence. DM

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  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    The MK party is taking our foolishness to a new level.
    Zuma knows most South Africans strive in parties and fun and he did win their hearts by passionately dancing Mshini wami in the past, I stand to be corrected but I cannot remember anything significant that makes him outstanding.
    Unfortunately this is one country where people can get sucked to rubbish in droves and it becomes a problem when it translates into votes.
    Unfortunately there is a province that I know it’s people will kill after hearing a war song.

    • steve woodhall says:

      You are spot on. I wish there was an ‘agree’ button here!

      • Lentswe Peleha says:

        Some of JZ archivements
        1. ARV program
        2. Two universities
        3. Six dams
        4. Power station.
        5. Nuclear power station(almost)
        6. Joining Brics
        7. Etc etc

        • Matt Simon says:

          Which dams?
          Which universities?
          Which powerstations?

          Sorry. All these things you mentioned seem more like failures.

        • Dean Williams says:

          8. Selling out the country.

          • johnaugust57 says:

            So in your own analysis, Zuma has done a great job… I wonder what y u outline what happened during his tenure as a president. Instead that was the reason we the taxpayers were responsible to pay him as the president. Now for your information that on its own is not an achievement but rather his mandate

        • Terrence B says:

          1. ARV Program initiated in 2004 – Zuma elected in 2009.
          2. Sol Plaatje University was opened and endorsed by Zuma, correct. University of Mpumalanga has been in the pipeline since 1996.
          3. Not sure about 6 dams. But Zuma opened the De Hoop Dam, which began construction in 2007. Not sure you can heap praise here.
          4. Medupi power station? I don’t think I need to say more.
          5. I mean, this was during the State Capture era with Gupta prints all over?
          6. Western trade bloc completely obliterates the trade we do with BRIC countries. Has little political or economic benefit to us. BRICS is not NATO, so little geopolitical benefit either.
          7. Please continue. This is fun.

          Now list the complete catastrophes of the Zuma tenure. I’ll start.

          1. Nedbank estimates that poor policy decisions, maladministration, and corruption during Zuma’s second term alone cost the South African economy R470 billion (US$33.7 billion).

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    You forgot to add:
    “to also rescue the ANC”

    Remember what Zuma said, at the launch of this MK Party in 16 December 2024, that he will be an ANC member until he dies, and is doing what he is doing in order to save the ANC.

    These MK leaders are banking on the ignorance and gullibility of the ordinary people, they know very well that Zuma does not qualify to become president again. They are just using his popularity to win seats in parliament.

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