Home South African Zuma takes a swipe at ‘unrepentant thief’ Ramaphosa

Zuma takes a swipe at ‘unrepentant thief’ Ramaphosa


Former president Jacob Zuma fired a salvo at his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, calling him an “unrepentant thief”.

uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party leader and South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Shiraaz Mohamed, AFP

By Lungani Zungu

DURBAN – Former president Jacob Zuma fired a salvo at his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, calling him an “unrepentant thief”.

Without mentioning Ramaphosa by name, Zuma charged: “We now have a person who does not care about the people. Who stole money and stashed it in a mattress but was cleared of any wrongdoing. He is an unrepentant thief,” said Zuma, speaking in isiZulu on Saturday.

Zuma, who now leads the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, visited Inkosi Mqoqi Ngcobo of the AmaQandi clan in Inanda, north of Durban.

He reiterated the unsubstantiated allegations that the MKP was “robbed” during the recent national and provincial elections, despite becoming the biggest party in KZN with 37 seats of the 80 in the provincial legislature. Nationally, the MKP bagged 58 of the 400 National Assembly seats that were up for grabs.

“We were robbed in the elections. But let’s not relax. Instead, let’s work harder to win convincingly in the next local government election (2026),” he said.

Zuma, who led the country as president from 2009 to 2018, also fires shots at the country’s government system.

“When we (MKP) win the next national election (2029), we’ll change the system. When we are in power, we will install a prime minister who will report to the monarch. It is time for our traditional leadership to govern,” said Zuma.

He also turned to the ANC’s step-aside policy and claimed it was formed to “bury” senior leaders, including his loyal backer, former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who was expelled from the ANC in June last year.

“There is another man (Magashule) in the Free State who was removed as secretary-general of the ANC due to some frivolous allegations. He was targeted by the current leader (Ramaphosa) and was completely axed from the ANC,” said Zuma.

Magashule’s dramatic expulsion was due to his alleged involvement in the R255 million asbestos tender issued during his tenure as Free State premier in 2015.

He then formed African Congress for Transformation (ACT), which failed to get a single seat in the National Assembly and in the Free State.

Zuma’s attack on Ramaphosa comes after the incumbent president announced a government of national unity (GNU) after no party obtained a clear outright majority following the May 29 elections.

Proposing the GNU, Ramaphosa said this would chart a way forward and break the stalemate. The ANC dropped to 40.1% from the 57% it had achieved in the 2019 national general elections.

The proposed GNU would likely see Zuma’s MKP and Julius Malema’s EFF being sidelined from the power deal. Parties like the Patriotic Alliance (PA), led by Gayton McKenzie, the EFF and MKP have already indicated they would snub the GNU.

Some ANC insiders have already drawn a line, and reportedly warned Ramaphosa against going to into the GNU, which will involve the DA.

If the GNU deal passes, it would not be the first time the country finds itself in such a position. Back in 1994, Nelson Mandela, the first democratic ANC president, roped in FW de Klerk, leader of the National Party (NP), and Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the IFP, to co-govern despite the ANC having won government with a clear majority, 62%.

This, Mandela explained at the time, was to ease tensions between the rival political parties.

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