South Africa ex-president Jacob Zuma faces dissent in MK party as polls nears

Tuesday May 07 2024

Former South African president Jacob Zuma speaks about his political future at a press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 16, 2023. PHOTO | REUTERS


The founder of the newly established South African political party uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Jabulani Khumalo, has requested the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to remove former President Jacob Zuma from the ballot.

In a letter to the IEC, dated May 5, 2024, Mr Khumalo claims that Mr Zuma occupied the position of the face and MK party president fraudulently.

On the list of candidates for the National Assembly, Mr Zuma is number one on the MK party list and has replaced Mr Khumalo on the ballot ahead of the general election on May 29.

The move by Mr Khumalo comes after the former ANC president Zuma expelled him from the MK in April along with four other members.

In explaining their reasons for sending Mr Khumalo packing, the party said that they wanted to ‘cleanse and also purify itself from rogue elements’ that would blur its lines to achieve a two-thirds majority.

In his letter to the IEC, Mr Khumalo wrote: “I registered it with the IEC on 7 September 2023. Prior to the registration, I consulted for political advice and guidance with Jacob Zuma.


“At all times it was always understood that Zuma is not a member of MKP but would assist it in the campaign. In fact, when he announced his decision to vote and campaign for MKP on December 16, 2023, he made it clear he would remain a member of the ANC.”

“On April 23, 2024, I was informed that I had been removed as the president of the party. I was told Zuma would become the president.”

Read: Zuma party fights to keep him on the ballot

“In these circumstances, I request urgently that the Electoral Commission should remove Mr Zuma’s name as the ‘face’ of MKP.

“He should also be immediately removed as the president of the MKP. He occupies both positions through fraudulent and illegal manoeuvres.”

In addition, the MK Party founder also placed Mr Zuma on precautionary suspension for what he labelled as “several acts of misconduct”.

“These have brought the party into disrepute, and caused confusion within the broader public and the membership of the MKP. Specifically, you have purported to suspend me as the president of the party without following the procedures prescribed by the constitution of the party,” said Mr Khumalo in his letter to Mr Zuma also dated May 5.

“In these circumstances, you are hereby placed on precautionary suspension, pending disciplinary proceedings being brought against you in terms of the constitution of the MKP.”

The IEC has since confirmed receiving a letter from Mr Khumalo on “behalf of the MK party”, requesting the removal of Mr Zuma as its leader.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the IEC said that the commission does not involve itself in the internal affairs of political parties.

“The commission only acts on instructions of the registered leaders of the party.”

The IEC records show that Mr Zuma is the registered leader of the MK Party. “This has been so since April 10, 2024,” the IEC added.