ANC insiders and close associates of former president Jacob Zuma have told Saturday Citizen a reported alleged plan to have Zuma break away from the ANC is real – but the only flaw is that Zuma wants no part of it.
There have been several reports this month that Zuma’s loyalists in KwaZulu-Natal have been plotting to oust President Cyril Ramaphosa, or find some other way to fight back against a perceived “purge” by Ramaphosa’s backers against Zuma’s allies.
The Sunday Times reported earlier this month that Caesar Nongqunga, the president of the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ, had formed a new political party, the African Transformation Congress, allegedly with Zuma’s blessing, and there was talk that Zuma might support this party, officially or unofficially.
ANC MPL Bishop Vusi Dube, who coordinated a march in defence of Zuma prior to his high court appearance in Durban earlier this month, is understood to also be central to the national campaign to support Zuma.
Dube, who founded the eThekwini Community Church, is a leader of the National Interfaith Council of South Africa.
Reliable sources close to Zuma have told Saturday Citizen that many of those close to Zuma have been begging him to leave the ANC and start his own party.
Not only are they unhappy that Zuma continues to face corruption charges and could go to prison, they feel his allies are being purged by Ramaphosa’s faction, under the pretence that it has only been about fighting corruption.
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and former Free State premier Ace Magashule – both with strong links to the controversial Gupta family – have both been hit by Hawks raids.
This week, Mahumapelo claimed that supporters of Ramaphosa were behind the violent protests against him in the province, particularly in the capital, Mahikeng.
Zuma’s allies have pointed to David Mabuza, who was once allied to Mahumapelo and Magashule, as evidence that the “purges” are factional in nature, since Mabuza is not being targeted in any anticorruption raids.
Saturday Citizen understands that some among Zuma’s allies have attempted to convince him that if he starts his own party, he could pick up a sizeable portion of the vote in 2019’s national elections, perhaps even helping to bring the ANC below the more than 50% required to govern.
That would not only punish the ANC, it would make him an important alliance partner in a new coalition government.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said KwaZulu-Natal had always been in support of Zuma and this could spell trouble for the ANC, come election season.
But Zuma, who has often said he intends to be buried in ANC colours, is understood to want no part of the plan – for now.
One source revealed that he said: “No, we can’t do this thing. I can’t leave the ANC.”
When contacted for comment, Zuma’s former spokesperson, Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, said he was no longer working with Zuma and could not shed light on who might be able to field media queries.