Zuma's ally parties bow out of elections

2019-03-22 13:36
December 17.2017. The ANC national conference in Nasrec. Photo: TEBOGO LETSIE

December 17.2017. The ANC national conference in Nasrec. Photo: TEBOGO LETSIE (File)

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Two KwaZulu-Natal political parties, perceived as an extension of former president Jacob Zuma’s support base in the province, have bowed out of the May 8 general elections contest.

The Mazibuye African Congress (MAC), whose leaders expressed unhappiness at the ANC’s decision to recall Zuma, and the African Freedom Revolution (AFR), founded by Zuma’s pastor Bishop Timothy Ngcobo, will not contest the upcoming polls.

MAC president Reggie Ngcobo confirmed the party did not register to contest the polls due to financial difficulties.

“Unfortunately we could not raise enough funds to run a proper elections campaign. We resolved to use whatever resources we have at the moment to build the party and prepare it for the next local government elections,” he said.

The launch of the MAC late last year created some controversy following an announcement by the party’s leaders that Indians and whites were not welcome in the organisation.

While Ngcobo denies it, there are rumours that divisions within the MAC had made it difficult for the party to function and raise funds, and that the organisation has actually collapsed.

“No, the MAC still exists. In fact, we will be holding a rally in a few days to decide which political party we will be endorsing in the May 8 general elections. So far a few parties have approached us for assistance in the upcoming elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bishop Ngcobo said the AFR had been keen to register to contest the elections but could not do so as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had not yet completed the process of registering them as a political party.

“The AFR will be open to discussions with any party which agrees with our manifesto and prepared to work for the people and promote clean governance,” Bishop Ngcobo said.

Alongside former SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement (ACM) and former Government Communication Information System (GCIS) chief executive Zwanele Manyi’s African Transformation Movement (ATM), Bishop Ngcobo’s party and the MAC are seen as pro-Zuma.

However, Bishop Ngcobo, who is known for praying for Zuma at court, denied that his party was a pro-Zuma organisation.

“We are a party of all South Africans from across the racial spectrum. To set the record straight I’m no longer active in any of the structures mobilising support for the former president,” he said.

Despite Zuma having lost control of both the ANC and government a year ago, he still enjoys significant support in the party, particularly in KZN. The ANC national leadership has roped Zuma into the party’s elections campaign team in KZN.

While a recent South African Citizens Survey found that the presence of Zuma in the ANC elections campaign trail was likely to cost the party some votes nationally, it found 51% of ANC supporters in KZN preferred him over President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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