Suspending Zuma will be a double-edged sword for both parties, says expert

Thobani Zikalala is an Independent Political Commentator. Picture: Supplied

Thobani Zikalala is an Independent Political Commentator. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 8, 2024


This week, the ANC vowed, it would eventually act against defiant former president Jacob Zuma, who according to ANC secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, had “expelled himself” when he decided to campaign for the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) party after ditching the ANC for the upcoming polls.

Zuma also indicated that he remains a member of the ANC.

Speaking to “The Star” on Monday, political analyst Thobani Zikalala said that should the ANC act to expel Zuma, it would be both good and bad for the party that has been trying to renew itself for over a decade.

Asked if the ANC would, as promised, this week act to discipline Zuma, Zikalala said the ANC would find disciplining their former president difficult.

“I do not think that the ANC will act against Zuma in a way that we expect –that they will be bold about it. I think if you listen to the utterances of the SG (secretary-general) of the party, the deputy chairperson, you may see a party that is already trying to divorce itself from Zuma or think of life after Jacob Zuma. Theirs might not be a very firm position,” he said.

This past weekend, ahead of the ANC’s January 8 Statement to be delivered by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, members of the ANC met to discuss a series of issues which possibly included the Zuma matter.

However, the party was yet to communicate its position, with the party only indicating their intention to “act against Zuma at some point”. Zikalala said that should the ANC act, this would be a double edged sword which would hurt both parties.

“The expulsion of Zuma will be a double edged sword. It will help the ANC to dispel confusion and it will be able to try to stamp its constitution, but at the same time, this may leave a dent in its voter support.

“On the other hand, this will help Jacob Zuma, because this is the hand he was trying to force and he will be able to then use the idea that he has been expelled so he has no other choice but to continue with the MK party. If you look at the party’s constitution, like the SG has said, Zuma has expelled himself from the ANC,” Zikalala added.

IOL has reported this week that Mbalula indicated that Zuma, by virtue of having ditched the governing party to campaign for the MK party, which he has been doing for weeks now, had expelled himself and left no need for the ANC to act against him.

“We can’t take someone who decided to leave for DC. He left and opened a political party, undermining the party’s credibility,” he said.

He emphasised that the ANC did not expel Zuma, stating that “he is in control of his life, he does what he likes, we are not going to take him to the DC (disciplinary committee), he has already expelled himself. The ANC did not expel Zuma,” Mbalula said.

However, last week the ANC Veterans League called for Zuma’s expulsion as Zuma had violated the constitution of the ANC over his conduct.

“Also, as a matter of urgency, the ANC must take action against former president Jacob Zuma, who has violated the ANC constitution, and against the Umkhonto weSizwe party, who may be illegally using the name of the former armed wing of the ANC,” the league said.