Zuma ‘is good news’ for ANC

2018-12-04 15:39
Former president Jacob Zuma.

Former president Jacob Zuma. (File)

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The ANC’s decision to rope former President Jacob Zuma into the party’s KZN elections campaign is likely to pay dividends for the organisation in next year’s general elections, analysts say.

“It will silence those within the ANC who are still bitter about Zuma’s removal from office and cement the divisions within the party in the province,” political analyst Protas Madlala said.

This after the ANC in KZN resolved to make Zuma the face of its elections campaign in the province.

The ANC’s decision will see Zuma, who had been in the political wilderness following the ANC leadership’s decision to sack him as the country’s president, co-operating with the ANC national top brass and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s supporters.

“It means that the ANC in the province will approach the elections as a united front. This is bad news for opposition parties as a strong and united ANC was likely to do exceptionally well in the elections,” Madlala said.

Zuma and his supporters in the province were left in disarray following their defeat during last year’s national conference where Ramaphosa supporters gained an upper hand in the battle for the control of the party.

Until recently, Zuma and his supporters had not been co-operating with Ramaphosa and the new ANC leadership that emerged at last year’s elective conference.

While Xolani Dube, a political analyst from the Xubera Institute for Research and Development, agreed that bringing in Zuma could help the ANC in the province do well in next year’s polls, he said the decision also shows some weaknesses within the party in the province.

“It shows the ANC provincial leadership structure does not have the kind of leaders who can connect with party supporters and voters in general.

“Almost all the ANC KwaZulu-Natal leaders who were elected during this year’s provincial conference are relatively unknown across the ANC structures in the province.

“The new provincial leaders can’t be traced in the history of the ANC — and that will be a big problem for the party going forward,” he said.

Zuma, who is facing criminal charges as well as state capture allegations after several witnesses at the state capture commission have implicated him, remains popular in the province.

He is facing corruption, fraud and racketeering charges but his supporters believe he is being prosecuted for pursuing pro-poor policies during his time as head of state.

While Dube agreed the ANC could win the elections in KZN should Zuma lead the elections campaign, he said the criminal charges and state capture allegations he is currently facing posed a risk to the party.

“Ordinary voters who are not within the ANC fold in the province could see the issue of criminal charges and state capture as a big issue — they might see Zuma as a person who can’t be trusted,” Dube said.

Despite the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) having withdrawn the party’s support for Zuma in his legal battles, several of his backers within the KZN ANC have attended his recent court appearances to support him.

Zuma, who had previously looked the other way as his backers attacked Ramaphosa and other ANC leaders perceived to be hostile to him, has recently been criss-crossing the province, telling his supporters to rally behind Ramaphosa and the party leadership.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  zuma
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