Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Former South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that his political party, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), will align with the opposition alliance in parliament, coordinating resistance against the ruling coalition led by the African National Congress (ANC).

Despite joining the opposition, MK maintains that last month’s elections were rigged and is demanding the results be annulled. This declaration was made during a speech by Zuma on Sunday, delivered by MK spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela, in which Zuma criticized the ANC, stating it was no longer part of the solution for South Africa.

Zuma condemned the current government as lacking national unity, describing the partnership between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ANC under President Cyril Ramaphosa as a “white-led unholy alliance.”

The ANC’s historic loss of its outright majority for the first time since apartheid ended has resulted in a power-sharing agreement with the DA, a scenario previously unthinkable to many South Africans. The DA, rooted in free-market economics and a coalition of groups including remnants of the apartheid-era National Party, starkly contrasts with the ANC’s left-wing traditions.

Adding complexity to the political landscape, the ANC announced on Monday via social media platform X that the Good party, led by Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille, would join the coalition. Good, which has strong support in the Western Cape, particularly from the coloured community, further diversifies the coalition’s base.

Despite the coalition-building, the newly-formed government remains unestablished, even though a majority of MPs re-elected Cyril Ramaphosa for a second presidential term on Friday.

In his speech, Zuma confirmed that MK has initiated legal action to invalidate the election results and called for a new vote. He urged his supporters to resist through peaceful means, emphasizing, “We will fight to win back our country from the enemies of progress.”

Zuma’s rhetoric has raised concerns about potential violence among his supporters, reminiscent of the deadly riots in July 2021 following his imprisonment for contempt of court during a corruption inquiry. In response, police reinforcements have been dispatched to his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Despite boycotting the first parliamentary session on Friday, MK plans to participate in future proceedings. Surpassing expectations in the elections, MK has emerged as South Africa’s third-largest party, capturing 12% of the vote and securing 58 seats in parliament.

Zuma stated that MK would join the official opposition, becoming part of the Progressive Caucus, a coalition of smaller parties that collectively control nearly a third of parliamentary seats. This caucus includes the radical Economic Freedom Fighters and the centre-left United Democratic Movement.

A former ANC stalwart, Zuma’s relationship with the party soured after his resignation from the presidency in 2018 amid corruption allegations, which he has consistently denied. As South Africa navigates this new political terrain, Zuma’s influence and MK’s role in the opposition will be pivotal in shaping the country’s future.

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