NEWS
01/06/2018 07:23 SAST | Updated 01/06/2018 07:23 SAST

The Return Of JZ? Pro-Zuma Forces Prepare To Launch New Political Party

While the former president is not the public face of the party, he is said to have given it his blessing.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa waves to his supporters on his way to the high court in Durban, South Africa, April 6, 2018.

Former president Jacob Zuma's supporters are moving to form a political party to contest elections, in the hopes of weakening the ANC at the polls so that Zuma can return to power, the Mail & Guardian reported.

The grouping, consisting of a broad range of Zuma supporters, reportedly has the former president's blessing, although he will not be the public face of the party.

Ramaphosa reportedly raised concerns about remaining tensions between pro-Ramaphosa and pro-Zuma camps at the ANC's recent national executive committee (NEC) meeting. He reportedly said the party needed to get out of "pre-Nasrec" mode, referring to the ANC's 2017 national conference where Ramaphosa was elected president.

The party is going to be called the African Transformation Congress and will be launched in the next two weeks.

The pro-Zuma lobby is reportedly called Mazibuyele Emasisweni, and it made up of religious and business leaders, as well as taxi operators and traditional leaders. The party is going to be called the African Transformation Congress and will be launched in the next two weeks.

The group reportedly has Zuma's blessing.

A leader of the group told the Mail & Guardian that Zuma will not be the face of the new party but he has been asked to anoint the new leader.

"We've had meetings with Zuma and I understand him to mean that Ramaphosa must not get support because he is in league with the whites," a senior leader reportedly said.

One of the organisers of the group, Reggie Ngcobo told the publication that the organisation wasn't a political party yet but was consulting with people on the ground, Zuma, veterans, and associates of Zuma.

Zuma reportedly said he could not ignore what people on the ground were saying.

"We've had meetings with Zuma and I understand him to mean that Ramaphosa must not get support because he is in league with the whites."

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), the group believes Zuma was robbed of his presidential term and that this prevented him from implementing "radical economic transformation".

It also wants the taxi industry subsidised and for land, once expropriated without compensation, to be returned to traditional leaders.

Edward Zuma, the former president's son, reportedly said on Thursday that his father was not involved.

Business Day reported that, in a statement, Zuma dismissed the reports of his father backing the mooted party as "false".

"I wish to take this opportunity to put matters into a correct perspective and lay to rest false reports regarding the involvement of the former president Jacob Zuma being aligned to a certain so-called political party that is to be registered ... the reports claim that [the] former president is well aware and has been consulted on

He reportedly said his father remained a member of the ANC and "will forever remain as such. Furthermore, he will be campaigning vigorously for the ANC for the 2019 general elections".