The former South African President Jacob Zuma has thrown his support behind the newly established political party uMkhonto weSizwe, signaling a potential rift with the African National Congress (ANC). Speaking at a media briefing on Saturday, Zuma asserted his continued loyalty to the ANC while announcing his intention not to vote for the party in the upcoming 2024 national election.
Political analysts are interpreting Zuma’s move as a strategic attempt to instigate his expulsion from the ANC. Ntsikelelo Breakfast, a prominent analyst, highlighted the contradiction in Zuma’s stance, emphasizing allegiance to the ANC while pledging his vote for uMkhonto weSizwe. “This might appear to be a strategy where he wants the ANC to expel him, providing a justification for his departure from the party,” noted Breakfast.
The political landscape in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), a traditionally ANC stronghold, is expected to face turbulence due to Zuma’s latest maneuver. Sandile Swana, another political analyst, underscored the historical significance of Zuma’s influence in KZN. “When Jacob Zuma rose to power, the ANC gained 1.5 million votes in KZN alone,” said Swana, acknowledging the pivotal role KZN played in securing ANC victories.
Zuma’s association with uMkhonto weSizwe, which shares its name with the ANC’s former armed wing, has drawn legal scrutiny. The ANC has announced plans to pursue legal action against the new party for appropriating its historical nomenclature.
As Zuma’s political allegiances continue to evolve, the ANC faces a critical juncture, navigating internal dynamics and external challenges in the run-up to the 2024 elections.