South Africa’s ANC suspends former President Jacob Zuma

The suspension of the former South African President comes ahead of the country’s general elections.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to supporters after appearing at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa [File: Rogan Ward/Reuters]

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has suspended former President Jacob Zuma, weeks after he backed another party ahead of this year’s general election.

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

The decision, which was widely expected, will be seen as a further sign of disunity in the movement ahead of the general election, in which the long-dominant ANC is expected to lose ground.

Zuma was the fourth president of democratic South Africa, serving from 2009 to 2018, but was forced from office under a cloud of corruption allegations, and he has become estranged from the party he once led.

In December, he declared he would campaign for a new party, uMkhonto We Sizwe (MK) or Spear of the Nation, named after the ANC’s former armed wing during the anti-apartheid struggle.

Mbalula said that in addition to suspending Zuma, the ANC could complain to the electoral court to get the new party deregistered and mount a trademark challenge to recapture the name.

“The formation of MK party is not an accident,” Mbalula declared after a meeting with the party’s National Executive Committee, attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“It is a deliberate attempt to use the proud history of the armed struggle against the apartheid regime to lend credibility to what is a blatantly counterrevolutionary agenda.”

According to a South African Broadcasting Corporation news report, Zuma has 48 hours to respond to the suspension.

Source: News Agencies