South Africa: ANC Suspends Ex-President Zuma After Rival Party Launch

SOUTH Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been suspended from the party he once led, after refusing to vote for it and launching a rival organisation.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) announced its decision on Monday.

“Zuma and others whose conduct is in conflict with our values and principles, will find themselves outside the African National Congress,” said Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula.

Mr Zuma’s nine years as president, from 2009, were dogged by scandal.

An official inquiry said the former president placed the interests of corrupt associates ahead of those of his country, in a process known as “state capture”. After he left office, he was jailed in 2021 for not appearing at the inquiry.

He also faces corruption charges over a 1999 arms deal. He denies wrongdoing in all cases.

Despite these issues, the ANC had tolerated Mr Zuma, but the creation of a new party that may pose a threat was deemed a step too far.

The party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), meaning “spear of the nation”, shares a name with the ANC’s former armed wing he once served in.

In a scathing letter, Mr Zuma’s former ANC bedfellows accuse him of debasing the “proud history of armed struggle against the apartheid regime” through the “opportunistic use of military symbolism”.

They also say MK only exists to “erode the support base of the ANC”.

South Africa’s current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, replaced then-President Zuma in 2018 and promised to clean up government. He now leads an embattled ANC into this year’s general election.

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