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May 29, 2024

Zuma Suspended from ANC for Supporting Rival Party

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Jan 29, 2024

The African National Congress (ANC) has suspended former South African President Jacob Zuma’s membership after he declared support for a rival political party started by former ANC members. This dramatic move comes just months before pivotal elections and represents a definitive break between Zuma and the party that supported him throughout his political career.

Zuma Announces Support for New Party

On January 28th, Zuma publicly endorsed the newly formed MKVA party started by former Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) veterans. This group split from the ANC over grievances about the party’s failures to support its former freedom fighters. In a video statement, Zuma said:

“I have joined the MKVA because it cares about the plight of MK veterans who fought for this hard-earned democracy while the ANC is failing them.”

By backing the upstart MKVA party, Zuma directly positioned himself against the ANC ahead of this year’s national elections. The MKVA aims to contest the elections and erode the ANC’s strong majority.

ANC Acts Swiftly to Suspend Zuma

In reaction to Zuma’s betrayal, the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) convened an emergency meeting on January 29th to determine disciplinary measures. The 80-member NEC voted unanimously to suspend Zuma’s ANC membership.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe announced the suspension, saying:

“The NEC has taken the difficult but necessary decision to suspend former President Zuma’s ANC membership. This follows his sustained efforts to undermine the ANC from within and without. The ANC cannot tolerate such treacherous acts, especially during an election year.”

Zuma’s Fall from Grace within the ANC

Zuma’s break from the ANC culminates his long downward spiral within the party that previously stood behind him through scandal and corruption allegations.

Year Event
2005 Zuma sacked as South African Deputy President due to corruption scandal
2009 – 2018 Zuma serves as South African President with ongoing scandals
2018 Zuma forced to resign as public pressure over scandals mounts
2021 Zuma imprisoned for contempt of court
2023 Corruption charges reinstated against Zuma after release from prison
2024 ANC suspends Zuma’s membership

As the table shows, Zuma has faced one controversy after another while the ANC continued to grant him top positions and leeway. But his brazen betrayal by campaigning against the ANC finally crossed the line, prompting swift disciplinary action. The ANC likely wanted to suspend Zuma to demonstrate strength and unity heading into a close electoral race.

Impact on Upcoming National Elections

Zuma’s suspension injects further uncertainty into South Africa’s upcoming national and provincial elections, expected to be held in May 2024. The ANC has continued an extended decline in popularity but hoped to reverse course this cycle. They now face an unexpected challenge from the MKVA party energized by Zuma’s backing.

Election Year ANC National Election Performance
2009 65.9% vote share
2014 62.1% vote share
2019 57.5% vote share

Based on the table, the ANC is expected to fall below 55% vote share in 2024 if trends continue. But they could drop further with the MKVA siphoning off support. Zuma retains pockets of loyal support, particularly in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. If a significant number of ANC voters defect to the MKVA, it could force the ANC into risky coalitions to retain power.

Right now, it is unclear how much momentum the MKVA will gain from Zuma’s backing. But opposition parties are already exploiting the turmoil, lambasting the deep dysfunction of the ANC:

“The ANC’s disastrous internal disarray continues unabated. South Africa cannot afford another wasted 5 years while the ANC wars with itself. We need rational, ethical leaders to move us forward.” – Herman Mashaba, leader of ActionSA opposition party

The election outlook remains uncertain as campaigning starts in earnest. The ANC will try to convince voters that Zuma’s suspension shows the party is turning the page on the scandal-plagued Zuma era. But enduring economic stagnation and gaping inequality undermine the ANC’s message. With a credible challenger in the MKVA and energized opposition parties, the ANC faces a real test to maintain its electoral dominance built up over decades.

What Comes Next for Zuma and the ANC?

In the near-term, Zuma will likely escalate his defiance of the ANC and court more controversy. He is already facing criminal charges for corruption and is under court order to return to prison.

After being dismissed by the party he once led, Zuma will stop at nothing to get revenge and prove he still wields influence, even if it takes down the ANC. By poisoning the well for his former comrades, Zuma aims to show he cannot not be tossed aside so easily. The ANC will likely regret suspending Zuma instead of handling his exit more carefully to avoid embarrassing electoral damage.

For the ANC, continuing to bleed support to breakaway factions and energized opposition parties may force another reckoning about its future. Many South Africans born after apartheid see the ANC as just another self-interested political party rather than the heroic liberators from history books. If the ANC eventually loses power, it could prompt some existential soul-searching about the party’s aging leadership and stale ideas mired in the past.

Either way, Zuma’s suspension caps his spectacular fall but opens a new volatile chapter in South African politics. The tremors will reshape the electoral landscape with the ANC’s dominance under assault from opponents emboldened by the party’s disarray. What happens next as campaigns kick into high gear may determine whether the ANC weathers the storm or sees its power disentegrate at the hands of its former leader. This internal feud will be a pivotal inflection point either way in the history of South African democracy.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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