South Africa

2024 ELECTIONS

Duduzile Zuma says MK open to working with ANC — sans Ramaphosa

Duduzile Zuma says MK open to working with ANC — sans Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa shares a light moment with former president Jacob Zuma at the state funeral of IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Ulundi on 16 September 2023. (Photo: Lulama Zenzile / Die Burger / Gallo Images)

The MK party says it would consider forming a coalition with the ANC on condition that the governing party axes Cyril Ramaphosa. Jacob Zuma’s party has started plotting its way forward by engaging with ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe on the sidelines at the National Results Operation Centre. 

The ANC is looking for coalition partners after it dropped under 50% nationally for the first time and at 9pm on Friday evening was sitting on 41.12% with 86.7% of results from voting stations confirmed.

Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party has been the story of the elections and had won 13.5% nationally and 45.48% in KwaZulu-Natal by Friday evening, putting it in a strong position to influence coalition negotiations.

A possible coalition between the MK party and the ANC, however, would deepen the rivalry between former president Zuma and the country’s head of state, Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The MK party has expressed that it would be willing to work with the ANC. MK national executive committee member and daughter to the former president, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, told Daily Maverick that the marriage would however only succeed if the ANC removed Ramaphosa.

“Definitely not the ANC of Ramaphosa,” she said.

Zuma’s six-month-old party has not only ravaged the support of the ANC, the oldest liberation movement in Africa, it has also taken away support from more established parties such as the EFF and IFP. The MK party has also been able to attract ANC supporters in KZN and Gauteng.

It has become almost certain that the ANC will not win more than 42% nationally. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: It’s now time for South Africa to take Zuma’s MK party seriously

Zuma-Sambudla, a close confidant of her father, said the MK party would only work with like-minded organisations. 

“We have the People’s Mandate [the party’s manifesto] and as long as you are aligned and close enough with what we want to do, then you are someone we can talk to in terms of the land, free education and nationalism.”

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela confirmed that the party had already started informal talks with the ANC’s national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe.

“They [ANC] have heard enough,” Ndhlela told Daily Maverick. “Gwede Mantashe knows [our position]. We will engage with the ANC, but we will not engage with the ANC of Ramaphosa.”

Zuma-Sambudla was reported to have said MK was only willing to work with “progressive black parties” and not the ANC under Ramaphosa.

Mdumiseni Ntuli, the ANC’s head of elections, said the top brass of the governing party is yet to meet to discuss their next move.

“We are not yet briefed if there is such a discussion. I think when the NEC convenes a meeting, the national officials will appraise us in case there are developments relating to that. We have not started discussions with anyone formally. It may very well be that in one-on-one some of our leaders are using proximity as an advantage; they talk to certain people,” he said. 

Asked if Ramaphosa would resign or quit following the party’s poor showing, ANC deputy secretary-general Nomvula Mokonyane said it wasn’t on the cards. She said the ANC needed all hands on deck as it considered its next steps after a difficult election result.

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The fallout

In December 2023, Zuma announced that he would campaign for the MK party while remaining a member of the ANC. His move came two years after he was arrested for contempt of court after failing to appear before the Zondo Commission.

Zuma was forced to resign as the country’s president in 2018 after Ramaphosa won the ANC presidency the previous year. He became increasingly critical of Ramaphosa as his legal challenges mounted.

While announcing his support for the MK party, Zuma took a swipe at Ramaphosa, calling him an agent of “white monopoly capital”.

This is when the term “the ANC of Ramaphosa” was first used by the former president.

In January, the ANC suspended Zuma for “actively impugning the integrity of the ANC” by campaigning to dislodge the organisation from power.

At the time, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the NEC had invoked rule 25.60 of the party’s constitution to suspend Zuma. He said the rule did not allow Zuma the opportunity to respond to the decision as it was final.

Zuma has a pending disciplinary hearing with the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee.

The ANC went to court to challenge the registration of the MK party. The party also challenged MK’s use of the name of its disbanded military wing but was unsuccessful in both cases. DM

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