Cape Town – Political analysts suggest that former president Jacob Zuma’s announcement that he will vote for a rival political party in the upcoming general elections, coupled with the harsh response from the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), may indicate a decline in his support within the party and the province.
The ANC in KZN criticised Zuma’s conduct as reflecting gross indiscipline and dismissed the party he supports, Umkhonto Wesizwe, as “fake“.
Despite some belief in Zuma’s continued influence, analysts argue that his support has waned since his removal from office in 2018, The Witness reported.
“It could be that the ANC in KZN has realised that he no longer has support in the province. That could be why they are now portraying him in a negative light.
“All these things are signs that Zuma’s support is no longer as significant as it was when he was still in power and in a position to dispense patronage,” the report quoted University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu as saying.
The decrease in attendance at Zuma’s court cases and his conduct could alienate even his ANC supporters, creating a contrast with current president Ramaphosa.
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Meanwhile, another political analyst Professor Susan Booysen highlighted that Zuma’s behaviour may lead to the estrangement of his supporters within the ANC.
“It has the potential to make others view Ramaphosa more favorably. Zuma’s actions draw a clear distinction between him and Ramaphosa,” she said, according to the report.
Zuma on Saturday drove a new split in the ruling African National Congress, calling for a boycott of the party in a landmark 2024 election.
Driven out of office in 2018 over corruption accusations but retaining significant influence, the 81-year-old Zuma launched an angry new attack on his successor President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The ANC, which has ruled the country since Nelson Mandela led it to victory in the first post-apartheid election in 1994, has lost or expelled several top members in recent months
With South Africa ailing from daily power cuts, repeated corruption scandals, rising crime figures and a somnolent economy, polls say the ANC could score less than 50 percent of the vote for the first time in the anniversary election next year.
It already saw its vote fall below 50 percent in 2021 local elections.
Zuma, who has never hidden his bitterness at the way he was kicked out of office, pointedly told a press conference: “It would be a betrayal to campaign for the ANC of Ramaphosa.”
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu
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