ANC: It’s the battle of the allies!

It’s time for your weekly dose of polit-tricks. There’s a new proxy battle between the Jacob Zuma and Ramaphosa factions in the ruling ANC, and it has to do with the two versions of the party’s veterans’ league – the guys who supposedly fought in the struggle for independence:

  1. The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA): the faction backing Zuma, which has some suspiciously young-looking members. They were the guys who shielded Zuma’s Nkandla home when he refused to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, and include the likes of controversial characters Kebby Maphatsoe and Carl Niehaus. 
  1. The MK Council: founded in 2016 in opposition to the MKMVA’s support for Zuma, and called on the ANC to discipline Zuma. 

The ANC’s National Working Committee, kinda like the ANC’s exco if you think of its NEC as its board, has now decided the two bodies should be merged.  

What does this mean for Ramaphosa and Zuma? The NWC has effectively dissolved the pro-Zuma MKMVA. This is yet another signal that Ramaphosa is tightening his grip on the ANC. We’ve now gone from rumours of him being ousted by the Zuma faction before his first term was up to, probably, neatly winning a second term as ANC president. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 17 June 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates