The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal finds itself in a state of panic as it deals with the emergence of the new uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK Party). The situation intensified after former president Jacob Zuma publicly declared his allegiance to the MK Party, opting to cast his vote for the new political entity in the upcoming 2024 elections.
Zuma’s announcement, made during a media briefing in Soweto on December 16, has sent shockwaves through the ANC, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, where a significant number of branches and regional structures are reportedly loyal to the former president, who has now become the face of the MK Party.
The ANC’s dilemma in the province stems from the fear that many party members and structures might defect to the MK Party, given Zuma’s influential role and the support he has garnered. A senior ANC leader, requesting anonymity due to a lack of authorization to speak to the media, expressed concern about the potential migration of members to the new political formation.
“Comrade Msholozi has hit us where it hurt. It’s no secret that our support had grown substantially in KZN because of his presence,” the senior ANC leader stated.
The MK Party’s campaign leading up to the 2024 general elections has heavily capitalized on Zuma’s cult-like figure. The former president is portrayed by his supporters as a champion of radical economic transformation and a defender of the poor and marginalized.
In response to the perceived threat posed by the MK Party, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has reportedly initiated a campaign to identify and deal with party members suspected of joining the new political group. A leaked communique, allegedly from the office of eThekwini ANC regional secretary, instructs branches to disclose information about MK Party movements and members actively involved in the splinter group.
Zuma’s recent public appearance at Mzo’s Lifestyle, an entertainment establishment in Verulam outside Durban, further fueled tensions. During the gathering, Zuma criticized President Cyril Ramaphosa, labeling him as the ANC’s “enemy number one” and asserting a need to rescue the ANC under Ramaphosa’s leadership.
As the ANC navigates internal divisions and the growing influence of the MK Party, the political landscape in KwaZulu-Natal appears to be undergoing significant shifts, with potential repercussions for the upcoming elections. The province, historically a stronghold for the ANC, is now witnessing a dynamic struggle for allegiance and political influence.