Zuma’s MK Party courts Lindiwe Sisulu

Former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Party is believed to be courting one of the ANC’s royal bloodline members, Lindiwe Sisulu, in its quest to dislodge the governing party from power in the forthcoming general election scheduled for May 29 this year.

This came to light after a phalanx of MK Party members and their motorcade descended on Sisulu’s Joburg home on Sunday, where she hosted them for
a while.

The disciples of Zuma’s party, who were resplendent in party regalia emblazoned with the words “ Vote MK 2024”, departed later, leaving Sisulu behind.

After their departure, Sisulu walked out of her home and shot the breeze with unknown men who were standing outside her residence. But Sisulu, who has, like Zuma, been vociferous against the direction the ANC was taking under the current leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa, played down the MK Party members’ gathering at her home as a “courtesy visit” from former members.

Sisulu’s adviser, Mphumzi Mdekazi, said the members, some of whom she worked with when she was minister of defence, had come to inform her that they were leaving the ANC to join the nascent party.

“She termed it a courtesy visit to inform her that they are leaving the ANC so that she would not be surprised. This was the same courtesy visit she received from some of her former colleagues who went to form Cope. Nothing more than that,” said Mdekazi. Members of the ANC’s MK wing have long been Sisulu’s grassroots supporters, and when asked how she felt about the ANC members abandoning the party, Mdekazi replied by saying that
Sisulu said she understood them.

“She emphasised that she did not have the luxury to dump the ANC. She never joined the ANC. She says, ‘I was born in the ANC, so I cannot leave. The ANC is my home,” he said.

Sisulu is the daughter of the late ANC stalwarts Walter and Albertina Sisulu. Like the Tambo, Mbeki, and Mandela families, they enjoy royal status within the ANC. Sunday World also learned that another reason for the MK Party’s visit to Sisulu was to inform her that the organisation intended to soon throw a massive celebration in honour of the founding fathers of the ANC’s former MK military wing, namely Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, and Nelson Mandela.

“They are planning a big humdinger, which Sisulu said she could not stop if they were honouring her father,” Mdekazi said.

Sisulu has raised her hand for the ANC presidency on two occasions with no success. During the party’s elective conferences in 2017 and 2022 in Nasrec, Johannesburg, Ramaphosa was elected for his first and second terms, respectively, after she failed to secure enough votes to win.

In 2022, she sparked controversy when she wrote an open letter titled, ‘Hi Mzansi, have you seen justice?’ in which she criticised the South African constitution and the judiciary.

The letter read in parts: “Today, in the high echelons of our judicial system, are these mentally colonised Africans who have settled with the worldview and mindset of those who have dispossessed their ancestors.

“They are only too happy to lick the spittle of those who falsely claim superiority. The lack of confidence that permeates their rulings against their own speaks very loudly, while others, secure in their agenda, clap behind closed doors.”

The opinion column and some of her overt criticism of Ramaphosa have been mentioned as the main reasons why she was sidelined under Ramaphosa’s administration, more so after she was reshuffled as tourism minister.

On Monday, a day after the MK party’s visit, Sisulu’s uncle, Mbuyiselo Hlakula, who was Walter Sisulu’s cousin, passed away.

“It was therefore doubtful that Sisulu would attend the ANC’s election manifesto launch in Durban this weekend,” Mdekazi said. Instead, she was likely to travel to Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape for funeral preparations, he said.

Meanwhile, the ANC has applied to the Electoral Court, seeking to nullify the MK Party’s registration to contest the upcoming elections. In its court papers, the governing party argued procedural irregularities, saying the MK Party was unlawfully registered.

Late last month, the ANC also suspended Zuma’s party membership with immediate effect and referred his conduct and association with the MK Party to its disciplinary committee.

MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said the interim national leaders were not aware of the meeting with Sisulu as it was not sanctioned, while the ANC did not respond to questions.

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