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Jacob Zuma: South Africans have five theories about why he’s still popular

Jacob Zuma: South Africans have five theories about why he’s still popular

A number of theories are being touted in South Africa about why and how former president Jacob Zuma retains his appeal as a leader. And why the party he formed – uMkhonto we Sizwe – to contest the recent elections managed to get 14.58% of the vote in the national elections and 45.35% in the provincial elections in KwaZulu-Natal to become the largest party in that province. This just over five months after its launch. But all the conjecture and explanations need to be treated with extreme caution: this is because nobody knows. Based on my five decades immersed in…
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South Africa’s election results present 3 options for government: all are fraught with danger

South Africa’s election results present 3 options for government: all are fraught with danger

SOUTH Africans do not have a deep culture of coalitions. There have been a few coalitions at provincial and municipal levels but most of these were quite unstable. The outcome of the 2024 national election up-ended 30 years of electoral dominance by the African National Congress. The party garnered only 40.18% of the vote while the Democratic Alliance got 21.81%, the uMkhonto weSizwe Party 14.58% and the Economic Freedom Fighters 9.52%. That means that the country will need to learn to dance the coalition dance, a dance that under the best of conditions is fraught with partners stepping on each…
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South Africa’s ANC leans towards unity government but meets resistance

South Africa’s ANC leans towards unity government but meets resistance

THE African National Congress is leaning towards trying to form a government of national unity for South Africa, it said, but the second-largest party said it would not join a government that included some of its smaller rivals. The ANC, which has run the country since Nelson Mandela led it to victory in the 1994 elections that marked the end of apartheid, lost its parliamentary majority in last week's election for the first time in the democratic era. Punished by voters over persistent poverty and joblessness, rampant crime, rolling power blackouts and corruption, the ANC is still the largest party…
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Zuma says he will fight for his rights over South Africa election disqualification

Zuma says he will fight for his rights over South Africa election disqualification

SOUTH Africa's former president Jacob Zuma said that he will fight for his rights after the country's top court ruled that he was not eligible to run for parliament in next week's election. The constitutional court ruled on Monday that Zuma's 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court in 2021 disqualified him from standing in the May 29 vote, as the constitution prohibits anyone given a prison sentence of 12 months or longer from holding a parliamentary seat. Decisions of the constitutional court cannot be overruled. "Judges of the constitutional court have taken a decision that I can't exercise my freedom, my…
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Who will lead South Africa after the May 29 election?

Who will lead South Africa after the May 29 election?

SOUTH Africa's May 29 election looks set to be the most tightly contested since the end of apartheid, with opinion polls suggesting that the governing African National Congress may lose its majority for the first time after 30 years in power. The ANC is still expected to win the largest share of the vote, so its leader President Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to remain in office unless he faces an internal challenge if the party is perceived to have performed badly. If it falls short of a majority, it will have to negotiate a coalition or some other form of deal with other parties.…
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South Africa’s ex-leader Zuma barred from standing in election

South Africa’s ex-leader Zuma barred from standing in election

SOUTH Africa's former president Jacob Zuma is barred from running for parliament in this month's election, the country's top court ruled on Monday, a judgment that could influence the outcome and trigger unrest from Zuma's supporters. The constitutional court found Zuma's 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court in 2021 disqualified him from standing in the May 29 election, as the constitution prohibits anyone given a prison sentence of 12 months or longer from holding a parliamentary seat. "It is declared that Mr. Zuma was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months' imprisonment, ... and is accordingly not…
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Zuma in court seeking right to run in South Africa’s pivotal election

Zuma in court seeking right to run in South Africa’s pivotal election

SOUTH Africa's top court began hearing legal arguments on whether ex-president Jacob Zuma can run for parliament, a case whose outcome will affect a wide open national election on May 29 and could cause security problems if he loses. Zuma, 82, who was forced to quit as president in 2018 and was sentenced to jail in 2021, has fallen out with the ruling African National Congress and has been campaigning for a new party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK). Polls suggest the ANC will lose its majority after 30 years in power, and MK represents a threat to it, especially in Zuma's home province…
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South Africa election: Who are ANC and other rival parties vying for power?

South Africa election: Who are ANC and other rival parties vying for power?

SOUTH Africa's election on May 29 could bring momentous change, with polls suggesting the ruling African National Congress is likely to lose its majority after 30 years in power. The following are key facts about the ANC and rival parties, including smaller ones that could play a pivotal role in forming a coalition government, should the opportunity arise. AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS The ANC enjoys rock-solid loyalty from many Black South Africans, especially older voters, due to its heroic past as a liberation movement that helped end apartheid and usher in multi-racial democracy under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. It has won a majority…
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South Africa elections: Zuma’s MK Party has hit the campaign trail with provocative rhetoric and few clear policies

South Africa elections: Zuma’s MK Party has hit the campaign trail with provocative rhetoric and few clear policies

FORMER South African president Jacob Zuma surprised many in December 2023 by declaring he’d canvass for a new rival to the African National Congress (ANC), the party he used to lead. The new uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK Party) is on the ballot papers in the upcoming national election and provincial elections. Opinion polls suggest that the upstart will worsen the electoral woes of the ruling ANC in Zuma’s heartland, KwaZulu-Natal province. The ANC, which has governed the country since 1994, goes into the elections uncertain about securing the more than 50% majority needed to form a government. We asked political…
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South Africa’s Zuma faces dissent in new party as election nears

South Africa’s Zuma faces dissent in new party as election nears

FORMER South African President Jacob Zuma is facing an attempt to oust him from leadership positions in his new party, state broadcaster SABC reported, three weeks before an election in which he is expected to attract significant support. One of the most divisive figures in South Africa, Zuma was president from 2009 until 2018, when he was forced to quit following a string of corruption scandals involving his administration. Openly hostile to his successor President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zuma announced in December he would not vote for the ruling African National Congress, his longtime party, in the May 29 election, instead…
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