FORMER South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that his newly formed party, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), will join an opposition alliance to resist the current government while continuing to contest the 2024 general election results. This decision follows a contentious election period, and the alliance aims to coordinate efforts against the ruling party.

Formation of the Progressive Caucus

The MK party will join a newly established parliamentary group known as the ‘Progressive Caucus,’ which includes several left-leaning opposition parties represented in parliament. The Progressive Caucus is led by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a radical leftist party that secured 39 seats in the new parliament.

Despite allegations of electoral fraud, the opposition alliance managed to secure around 30 percent of the national assembly seats. MK party spokesman Nhlamulo Ndhlela emphasised the alliance’s strength: ‘This puts us in a very strong position to fight for the total economic liberation of black and African people.’

Advertisement

Allegations of electoral fraud

In a statement delivered by Ndhlela, former President Zuma accused the ruling party of rigging the 2024 elections. ‘The 2024 elections were rigged,’ Ndhlela asserted. ‘We have instructed our legal team to take all necessary steps, both within South Africa and internationally, to ensure that justice is served.’

Zuma, who sat beside Ndhlela during the announcement, plans to mobilise peaceful demonstrations to protest the alleged electoral injustices. ‘At the right time, we will call on our people to peacefully demonstrate their dissatisfaction in the streets, in the courts, and even in parliament until our grievances are addressed,’ Ndhlela said.

Legal actions and parliamentary boycott

The MK party, which won 14.6 percent of the vote and secured 58 parliamentary seats, boycotted the initial parliamentary session where Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected as president. The party has now pledged to attend future sessions while pursuing legal challenges against the election results.

The MK party had previously filed complaints regarding alleged voting irregularities and sought to prevent the new parliament from convening. Other opposition parties have also lodged similar complaints with the country’s electoral commission and initiated legal proceedings.

National unity government and opposition reactions

President Ramaphosa is set to be inaugurated on June 19 and will lead a government of national unity after the election failed to produce a decisive winner. The coalition government includes the centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA), the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, and other smaller groups.

The formation of this coalition has been met with criticism from the opposition. Ndhlela labelled the coalition as a ‘white-led unholy alliance’ that must be opposed. ‘The ANC has gone to bed with the racists,’ he declared, criticising the inclusion of the DA in the government.

The EFF also expressed its reluctance to collaborate with parties holding vastly different political ideologies, such as the DA.

Zuma’s ongoing rivalry with Ramaphosa

Zuma’s animosity towards Ramaphosa dates back to his ousting from the presidency by the African National Congress (ANC) amid corruption allegations in 2018, leading to Ramaphosa’s rise to power. Zuma described the new coalition government as ‘meaningless,’ underscoring his ongoing rivalry with the current president.

Future of the opposition alliance

The new opposition alliance, spearheaded by Zuma’s MK party and the Progressive Caucus, is set to challenge the ruling coalition vigorously. Their agenda focuses on achieving economic liberation for black and African people, addressing alleged electoral fraud, and resisting what they perceive as an unjust government.

As South Africa navigates these turbulent political waters, the actions and influence of the Progressive Caucus will be crucial in shaping the country’s governance and socio-economic landscape. The alliance’s efforts to contest the election results and push for economic reforms reflect deep-seated tensions and a desire for significant change in the nation’s political dynamics.