Former South African president Jacob Zuma. Source: Daily Maverick. - Photo: 2023

The Historic ANC Members Demand Change

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | PRETORIA | 18 December 2023 (IDN) — The historic African National Congress, leader of the decades-old struggle against apartheid, governing party of the Republic of South Africa since 1994, is having a family feud.

Deep divisions are coming out into the open, as when former South African president Jacob Zuma recently declared he would not vote for the ruling ANC in national elections in 2024.

“I have decided that I cannot and will not campaign for the ANC of Ramaphosa in 2024. My conscience will not allow me to lie to the people of South Africa and to pretend that the ANC of Ramaphosa is the ANC of Luthuli, Tambo and Mandela,” said Zuma, referring to previous leaders of the ANC.

Zuma said he would vote for the radical new left-wing Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) party, named after the ANC’s old armed wing, and urged all South Africans to reject the ANC.

“I call on all South Africans to join me in taking the important step and to vote for the MK Party and any other progressive party which seeks total liberation,” he said.

Zuma’s remarks added to a growing pile of critiques—often from former ANC officials such as ousted ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, who recently announced the formation of a new party—the African Congress for Transformation (ACT).

A close ally of ex-president Zuma, he was expelled from the ruling party in June for allegedly personally benefiting from money meant to be used to remove asbestos from the homes of people in the Free State province where he was the premier from 2009 to 2018. He also faces charges of corruption in a criminal case.

Another breakaway was announced last month by seven opposition parties, including the country’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, and a string of small parties who agree on what they call a Multi-Party Charter for South Africa.

Waning support for ANC

Support for the ANC has slowly waned over the years amid criticism that it has failed to provide basic services and ease poverty for millions of the country’s Black majority. Widespread corruption in state-owned institutions and local and national governments has further eroded its popularity.

Other problems include the highest levels of unemployment in the world, a failing electricity supply that’s led to regular blackouts, a broken public transport system and high violent crime rates.

In an effort to bring the opposition together, a multiparty national convention was organized, led by William Gumede, founder of the Democracy Works Foundation and Associate Professor at the School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Participants at the first meeting included party leaders from the Democratic Alliance, Inkatha Freedom Party, and Freedom Front Plus.

Herman Mashaba, president of ActionSA, explained his presence at the convention.

“ANC will lose its majority, and all South Africans know this, but they have never seen opposition parties putting aside differences to give them hope,” he said. “We must define this agreement with a positive vision for South Africa, not against other political parties.”

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald asked the parties to set an example by paving a way forward to help to save South Africa.

“I don’t think there is anyone in South Africa who will not agree that we are not at a good point in the history of our country. There must be change,” Groenewald said. 

Prof William Gumede, chairing the discussions, encouraged party leaders to rise above egos and squabbles. 

“Every decision the group makes has to be in the best interest of South Africa. It has to be for the future of all of us and for those still to be born.” [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Former South African president Jacob Zuma. Source: Daily Maverick.

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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