Former South African president Jacob Zuma (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma denounces ANC

Former president Jacob Zuma has denounced the governing African National Congress and announced he will vote for a newly-formed political party in South Africa’s general election next year.

Mr Zuma, who was president of the ANC from 2007 to 2017, said he is backing the newly-formed Umkhonto we Sizwe party that is named after the ANC’s now-defunct military wing, which was disbanded after the liberation struggle.

Mr Zuma, 81, called on other South Africans to vote for the new formation, saying it would be “a betrayal to vote for the ANC” of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The country’s general election scheduled for 2024 is expected to be highly contested, because the ruling ANC, which has governed the country since Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically-elected leader in 1994, faces a myriad of challenges.

Recent polls have suggested the ANC could for the first time garner less than 50% of the national vote in next year’s election and may need to form a coalition government to remain in power.

Briefing journalists in Johannesburg’s Soweto township on Saturday, Mr Zuma described the ANC and Mr Ramaphosa as a “proxy for white monopoly capital,” and he described his decision as part of rescuing the ANC.

“I have decided that I cannot and will not campaign for the ANC of Ramaphosa in 2024. My conscience will not allow me to lie to the people of South Africa and to pretend that the ANC of Ramaphosa is the ANC of Luthuli, Tambo and Mandela,” said Mr Zuma, referring to previous leaders of the ANC.

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