As former president Jacob Zuma, who is also former leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) continues to criss-cross parts of South Africa canvassing for votes for his new political party, uMkhonto weSizwe, the ANC has expressed concern over the actions of the elderly statesman.
Over the weekend, IOL reported that Zuma was leading a charm offensive for votes in Mpumalanga for the uMkhonto weSizwe opposition party – in a province traditionally an ANC stronghold and an area just hours away from where incumbent ANC heavyweights including President Cyril Ramaphosa have been marking the ruling party’s 112th birthday celebrations.
On Saturday, Zuma addressed thousands of people in Mkhondo, Mpumalanga. Video footage of the rally in Madadeni showed the hall was packed to the rafters, with people struggling to find seats, while others were seated on the floor.
However, secretary of the ANC’s powerful electoral committee, Chief Livhuwani Matsila, said the former president is leading an aggressive propaganda campaign against the ruling party, at a critical time ahead of the national elections, and action should be taken against him.
“His fate should be looked at with reference to the constitution of the ANC, which when you join the ANC you sign for the membership which says you are going to respect the constitution, be ruled by it in terms of your conduct and discipline,” Matsila said in an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.
“One of the issues in the constitution, in terms of duties of the members is that you need to combat propaganda that is against the interest of the ANC (but) in this case you have a former president who is doing exactly the opposite and even worse,” he said.
“He is actively, and aggressively championing propaganda against the ANC at a time when we are going to elections.”
He said there is a clause in the constitution of the ANC which dictates that membership of a person can be suspended by the top party structures under such “extraordinary” circumstances.
“Given where we are, this is quite an extraordinary matter. It is unprecedented and untenable that a former president can campaign against his own party and still retain membership,” Matsila said.
“If the leadership of the ANC has to protect the constitution against abuse, disrespect by its former president – they should invoke that rule which says there should be temporary suspension, pending a disciplinary process,” he said.
“The provisions in the constitution of the ANC are not facultative, they are obligatory on the leadership of the ANC and its members.
“In one of the acts of misconduct in the constitution is that what is being done by the former president is that he is acting in breach of his own ANC membership oath which he has signed and he is also sowing divisions in the ANC. He is bringing the ANC into disrepute – all of that is in the constitution,” said Matsila.
During his tour of Mpumalanga, IOL reported that in what seemed to be a direct attack on, and a mocking of, President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Phala Phala money scandal, Zuma told of some leaders who had been robbed of money and then gave the criminals more money to hide.
Speaking in Mkhondo, Zuma said he was left with no option but to return to active politics because he saw things in the country deteriorating and the public being neglected by the ANC.