Zuma Party Takes Up South Africa Assembly Seats, Challenges Vote

Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s political party will end its boycott of parliament and take up the seats it won in last month’s election, while it simultaneously challenges the outcome of the vote.

Bloomberg
First Published17 Jun 2024, 12:55 AM IST
Zuma Party Takes Up South Africa Assembly Seats, Challenges Vote
Zuma Party Takes Up South Africa Assembly Seats, Challenges Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s political party will end its boycott of parliament and take up the seats it won in last month’s election, while it simultaneously challenges the outcome of the vote.

The uMkhonto weSizwe Party became the nation’s third-biggest party in the May 29 election, garnering 14.6% of the ballots cast. The party has said it won a greater number of votes and has filed allegations of rigging at the Electoral Court.

The MKP’s 58 lawmakers failed to attend the first session of parliament on June 14 at which President Cyril Ramaphosa was reelected for another term. The party will now take up its seats on the opposition benches, it said in a statement in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“We shall continue to raise the issue of the rigged elections even inside the house, while at the same time we shall intensify the court actions and other constitutional methods” the party said.

The MKP rejected an invitation by Ramaphosa’s African National Congress to join a broad alliance of parties that have agreed to form a so-called government of national unity. Speaking to reporters in Johannesburg, Zuma described as “meaningless” the accord drawn up by the ANC, the centrist Democratic Alliance and other parties to form the government.

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said on Saturday the door remains open to the MKP joining the pact, which has so far only been signed by the ANC and the DA. The opposition Inkatha Freedom Party is expected to follow suit.

Ramaphosa will be sworn in at an inauguration ceremony on Wednesday. Negotiations are continuing on the formation of his cabinet, which will include members of the government of national unity.

Police increased security in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s main support base. While his party won the most votes in the province, it failed to secure control of the regional legislature after the ANC, DA, IFP and a smaller party formed a coalition to govern KwaZulu-Natal.

MKP Secretary-General Arthur Zwane called the police re-enforcements in the province “mischievous.”

The province has been plagued by political violence in the past, and was the starting point in 2021 of South Africa’s deadliest riots since the end of apartheid that were triggered by the arrest of Zuma for contempt of court.

“We are not violent, we are not espousing any violence,” Zwane said. 

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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First Published:17 Jun 2024, 12:55 AM IST
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