South Africa’s ruling party, ANC suspends ex-president Zuma’s membership

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South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC) has suspended former President Jacob Zuma from the party.

This was announced by ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula, on Monday, saying Zuma’s conduct contravened the values and principles of the party.

“Zuma and others whose conduct is in conflict with our values and principles, will find themselves outside the African National Congress,” Mbalula said.

Zuma’s ruled the country for nine years as president, from 2009, but the period was dogged by scandal.

According to local media, an official inquiry said the former president placed the interests of corrupt associates ahead of those of his country, in a process known as “state capture”.

After he left office, he was jailed in 2021 for not appearing at the inquiry.He also faced corruption charges over a 1999 arms deal, but denied wrongdoing in all cases.

Despite these issues, the ANC had tolerated Mr Zuma, but the creation of a new party that may pose a threat was deemed a step too far.

The party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), meaning “spear of the nation”, shares a name with the ANC’s former armed wing he once served in.

In a devastating letter, Zuma’s former ANC colleagues accused him of debasing the “proud history of armed struggle against the apartheid regime” through the “opportunistic use of military symbolism”.

They also say MK only exists to “erode the support base of the ANC”.

South Africa’s current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, replaced then-President Zuma in 2018 and promised to clean up the government.

He now leads an embattled ANC into this year’s general election.

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