‘Zuma shot himself in the foot with MK Party move’

Former ANC president Jacob Zuma, pictured, has himself to blame for the suspension of  his membership and possible expulsion from the party

This is according to ANC NEC member Andile Lungisa, who believes the Nkandla pensioner should have exhausted internal ANC platforms to raise his grievances instead of campaigning for the MK Party to dislodge the governing party from power in the forthcoming elections.

Lungisa, an erstwhile political associate of Zuma, was speaking during his appearance on Sunday World Engage in a wide-ranging interview. 

He said that despite his long history as Zuma’s close ally, he was not going to defend a man who “left” the ANC on his own accord instead of fighting from within. The top priority for Lungisa now, which he insists should be the same for all ANC leaders and members, is to defend and close ranks around President Cyril Ramaphosa as the face of the party.

For Zuma to talk about the “Presidency of Ramaphosa”, which must be rejected, was not in line with the known traditions of the ANC that dictate that all members must support whoever is at the helm.

“I do not agree [with Zuma]. The ANC always elects different presidents.

“There were people who were opposed to president Zuma, and we argued that we cannot allow people to say they are opposed to the president of the ANC.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa is the president of the ANC; we will argue that president Cyril must be supported by the [former] president of the ANC.

“We argued even during president [Thabo]Mbeki that he must be supported when he was president of the ANC, as we did with president Nelson Mandela.

“There is no ANC president who is more special than any other president of the ANC.”

According to Lungisa, it was out of order for Zuma to go out of the party to bash the ANC leadership when he had an unfettered platform, the NEC, to register his frustrations with the incumbent leadership of the party.

Therefore,  it was inevitable that endorsing and campaigning for an ANC opponent, the MK Party,  charged Lungisa, was always going to land Zuma in trouble with the ANC.

Lungisa does not buy Zuma’s story that he was stifled from raising his divergent views within the ANC.

“Since I was elected to the NEC in December 2022, I don’t remember president Jacob Zuma attending an NEC meeting, where he said that in the NEC meeting, ‘I was never given an opportunity to speak’.

“Zuma is an ex-officio member of the NEC and has a permanent platform.

“When you are a former president of the ANC, you don’t need a conference; you are not like us, where you get elected in a conference. If a conference does not like you after five years, you don’t get elected.

“He has a platform, which is the NEC, where he is able to raise whatever issues.

“I would understand if he had attended the NEC meetings and said he was locked outside and not allowed to speak in the meetings, but he left,  he walked away. We are a democratic organisation; it is open and comrades are allowed to speak.”

Lungisa believes Zuma should have learned from his former friend, ex-ANC boss Thabo Mbeki, and remained within the ANC structures  and  ventilated his unhappiness on those platforms.

“The former leaders must engage; they have all the accolades because, when you are a former leader, you can raise all the issues without fear.”

Lungisa said he had yet to reach out to Zuma because he was still processing the shock from the man’s decision to endorse the MK Party.

He said he remains hopeful that Zuma will use the disciplinary process to revisit his decision to join MK Party, and show remorse.

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