Unease ahead of SA presidential swear-in


Umkhonto we Sizwe leader Jacob Zuma

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AHEAD of the presidential inauguration and amid the prospect of violence looming after the party of former president, Jacob Zuma, rejected the government of national unity, South Africa is leaving nothing to chance.

The country marked Youth Day on Sunday amid some apprehension after the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party snubbed the GNU, which MK wants “to be crushed before it finds its feet.”

“It is meaningless….nonsense,” Zuma said at a lengthy press conference in Johannesburg.

He charged that by African National Congress (ANC) entering the government of nationality (GNU) with other parties, mainly the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), the former liberation movement had “defined itself out of the progressive forces of change and against the majority of the oppressed.

“The ANC of Ramaphosa must be treated as part of the problem and no longer part of the solution,” Zuma said.

Zuma’s party revealed it has asked its lawyers to write to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to stop “deliberately misleading” South Africans in what it says is the misuse of terms like government of national unity.

It is the latest twist in the aftermath of the May 29 elections. The ANC fought against apartheid until the system’s demise in 1994.

Last month, it lost its Parliamentary majority and was forced into coalition with the DA, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Patriotic Alliance (PA).

The presence of the DA has not gone well with some sections of South Africans since the DA has its roots in the National Party, which introduced apartheid in 1948.

As the ANC and its newly-found allies promote the GNU, the MK and other parties aggrieved by the election results have announced a so-called Patriotic Front in solidarity with the black majority who remain poor and disenfranchised three decades after independence.

In the fully-charged conference, Zuma maintained the country was under independence, not democracy.

“We are sliding into dictatorship,” he said.

His sentiments are part of his continued enmity with Ramaphosa, who was re-elected last week and is to be worn-in on Wednesday. After its 58 members boycotted the first sitting of Parliament on Friday, MK members will certainly not attend the swearing-in ceremony.

MK, which came third behind ANC and DA, is challenging the poll as rigged and said it would appeal to international courts to challenge the conduct of the elections. Zuma and his party have been in and out of court challenging plans to deregister it and bar Zuma from contesting.

The two most powerful politicians in the country have been at loggerheads since a faction of Ramaphosa forced Zuma to resign as party and country president in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

By forming MK late last year, ANC argues Zuma (82) has expelled himself from the ruling party but he maintains he remains a member.

Ramaphosa (71), the judiciary, Independent National Electoral Committee and even the media were not spared Zuma’s criticism in the MK conference.

The judiciary is said to be fighting ANC factional battles.

“Then you have a head of state whose home (farm) is found with a mattress full of money and is not charged,” Zuma said.

He was referring to the so-called Phala Phala scandal where vast amounts of foreign currency said to be kept illegally was allegedly found.

In 2021, a court sentenced Zuma to 15-months in prison for contempt of court. His jailing led to riots and mass looting that left more than 300 people dead.

“I was arrested and voluntarily handed myself in, people said this is wrong, and they were correct,” he said.

He said the deployment of the army back then “further provoked” the people. The anarchy fed off with high unemployment and poverty.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) this past weekend deployed an additional 400 officers to the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KNZ), a move MK has described as “mischievous.”

More than 1 200 officers have reportedly been deployed since May.

KZN was the epicentre of the 2021 riots and is the home province of Zuma.

MK received the highest number of votes this past election but suffered a setback from governing after an IFP candidate was voted as Premier.

This after ANC, DA, IFP, and the National Freedom Party (NFP) agreed to a coalition in the province.

– CAJ News

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