'We're not Zuma's mouthpiece', says new party, even though it admits to consulting with him several times
16 October 2018
The Mazibuye African Congress (MAC) claims it is not a mouthpiece for former president Jacob Zuma and hasn't spoken to him since establishing itself as a political party in July. It is, however, still in touch with people close to him, the party said.
The newly formed political party's president Reggie Ngcobo said after approaching former presidents, among them FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki, Zuma was the only former leader interested in hearing the organisation's views.
Ngcobo said the party had not met with Zuma since a July rally during which supporters decided that the organisation could not remain a civic movement "addressing political ills outside of the political space".
"We had three or more meetings with the former president to get his input as far as the ills that we identified in the country. [He] gave his own personal input but didn't ask us to become a political party," said Ngcobo.
He was speaking to a near-empty room at a media briefing called by the party in Ekurhuleni on Monday.
The organisation, which only accepts people of African descent as members, is well-known for its pro-Zuma stance and is widely believed to have been formed with his blessings, a claim Ngcobo denies.
The MAC, which also said it wants to contest the 2019 polls, announced that it was partnering with a few small civic organisations and that right-wing lobby group AfriForum would possibly be one of them.
The two parties are an odd pair as they differ on their approach to the land question in South Africa. AfriForum is opposed to the call for expropriation of land without compensation while the MAC supports the proposed policy.
"AfriForum, they regard themselves as Africans, because they are Afrikaners, the only thing that separates us from them is the economy and complexion of their skin," said Ngcobo.
However, he reiterated calls made by the organisation when it was launched just over three months ago that land in South Africa must be given to "African natives".
He said it was necessary for Afrikaner land owners to "admit the land they are occupying and using was a result of theft" and for them to "take it back to the native people of this land".
He said he would like to see Afrikaners continuing to work the land, however.
"We cannot dispute the fact that Afrikaners are good agricultural people. We don't want to see a situation like in Zimbabwe where the farmers were chased out and serious famine happened in the country," he continued.
State capture revelations
Ngcobo also used the opportunity to hit out at Zuma's detractors and to give his views on current affairs.
"We are witnessing the uncovering of top surface corruption committed by our respectable public leaders, we can't trust anyone anymore," he said.
Ngcobo said leaders were suddenly unable to prioritise the needs of South Africans, even welcoming the resignation of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene who stepped down last week.
"The resignation of Nhlanhla Nene leaves a lot to be desired. He was long portrayed as a financial saint who was victimised by president Zuma for alleged corrupt ends. We remain surprised by the allegations that led him to resign," said Ngcobo.
Nene stepped down after admitting to having lied about meeting with the controversial Gupta family at the heart of state capture allegations.
The former minister admitted during testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture to having met with their family six times at their Saxonwold home.
Ngcobo also noted that the SACP had, through its leader Blade Nzimande, said it would approach the commission. He called on Transport Minister Nzimande and Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi to testify before the commission.