South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has decided to suspend former President Jacob Zuma as a member of the party, local news sites are quoting unnamed ANC sources as saying.
The decision was taken by the ANC’s top leadership body, the national executive committee, following Mr Zuma’s announcement last month that he would campaign for a new party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), in general elections due later this year, News24 and TimesLive are reporting.
Mr Zuma said would remain a member of the ANC but it “would be a betrayal” to campaign for the ANC of current President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mr Zuma has addressed several meetings of uMkhonto we Sizwe, which means spear of the nation, and is the same name as the former armed wing of the ANC. It als uses the same abbreviation, MK.
The ANC has previously vowed to take legal action to prevent the new party from using the name.
Mr Zuma stepped down as ANC leader at the end of his two terms in 2018. His preferred candidate lost the race for the leadership of the party to Mr Ramaphosa.
Mr Zuma was then forced to resign as South Africa’s president about two months later following heavy pressure from within the ANC. He was succeeded by Mr Ramaphosa.
Mr Zuma was jailed in 2021 for contempt of court after refusing to testify before a panel investigating corruption during his presidency.
He is currently facing separate charges of corruption over an arms deal that the government negotiated. He was a senior leader of the ANC at the time, but not the president.
He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying he was the victim of a political witch-hunt.