South Africa's new MK party seeks majority win in pivotal election, Zuma says

Sunday May 19 2024
Former South African President Jacob Zuma

South Africa's new uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party is aiming to win a parliamentary majority in a May 29 election so that it can implement reforms without resistance from opponents, former President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.

Zuma, who was forced to quit as president in 2018, has fallen out with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and has been campaigning for MK, which was formed in December.

 "We want to get an outright victory because if we don't get the two-thirds (majority), the opposition may oppose us," 82-year-old Zuma told thousands of supporters during a launch of the party's election manifesto.

An Ipsos opinion poll published in April showed MK would win 8.4% of the vote, far short of the party's 66% objective. Speaking in Zulu at the Orlando Stadium in South Africa's biggest township Soweto, Zuma promised to provide free education for disadvantaged children, create jobs, and fight corruption.

If the polls are correct, the ANC is at risk of losing its parliamentary majority for the first time since Nelson Mandela's victory in 1994 ushered in a new era of democracy after decades of apartheid rule.MK has emerged as a threat to the ANC, especially in Zuma's home province of KwaZulu Natal, where he is popular.


A 31-year-old MK supporter, Girlsy Six, told Reuters she had travelled to Gauteng from neighbouring Mpumalanga province because the party represented change for people like her.

"We want jobs, we want the land, we want (a) people's bank, we want a lot! We know that we can get the change we want in this party," Six said.

Zuma told the crowd he had no choice but to stay in politics because other elected officials did not care about improving people's lives."It can't be that at this age we are still fighting criminals to remove them from government because they are criminals.

We should be resting and playing with our grand-kids," said Zuma.