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Elections 2024     |     Fri 12 Jul

One could have been forgiven for thinking it was 2005 on Tuesday this week when former president Jacob Zuma addressed his supporters outside the electoral court hearing in Bloemfontein.

Back then, Zuma turned his appearance on corruption charges into a successful run for the ANC presidency — and that of the country — a masterful display of weaponised victimhood that took him to the highest office in the party and the land.

This week, things had changed.

The fervent supporters were still there — along with the victimhood — but this time the ANC was not Zuma’s enabler, but his enemy, and had gone to court in a bid to prevent his breakaway uMkhonto weSizwe party from contesting the 29 May elections.

The battle between uMkhonto weSizwe party and the ANC will be a fascinating one, whatever the outcome of the current skirmish in the court, with Zuma continuing to haunt the party he once led in the courts, in the streets and at the polls.

Yours electorally,
Paddy Harper

ANC tells electoral court it is not targeting MK party

Amid legal battles, the ANC's move to challenge the registration of Jacob Zuma-endorsed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party raises stakes for South Africa's political landscape, hinting at deepening party rivalries and potential shifts ahead of the general elections.


Mahlobo mum on inclusion in ANC election list despite state capture allegations

The deputy minister of water and sanitation, David Mahlobo, has once again received the green light to serve in the ANC’s national structure despite a state capture cloud hanging over his head and pushback to have him and others disqualified.

Elections 2024: Don’t pick the scabs

The upcoming elections highlight a crucial debate on trade unions between South Africa's major parties, with the DA pushing for restrictions, contrasting sharply with the ANC's support for labor rights, signaling a pivotal moment for the nation's economic and worker policies.



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Our M&G cover from 18-24 March 1994. Corruption in the highest police ranks, the ill-discipline of the AWB, and we all remember Bill Clinton.



 THEN AND NOW | uMkhonto weSizwe

Tracing the journey from the frontline in the struggle for democracy to the political arena today, uMkhonto weSizwe’s evolution encapsulates a profound chapter in South Africa’s history. Once the ANC’s military wing, its recent legal entanglements and political aspirations in 2024 underline the enduring legacy and complexities of the liberation struggle. This narrative showcases a transition filled with legal challenges and political manoeuvres, reflecting on how the past’s heroes navigate the present’s political landscape, aiming to maintain their relevance and influence amidst South Africa’s evolving 30-year democracy.

Delving into our archives, we uncover the nuanced history between uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) and the ANC, revealing a sometimes troubled partnership. Thirty years ago, internal dissensions highlighted the struggles within the liberation movement, even as MK cadres demanded recognition and support. Fast forward to twenty years ago, these freedom fighters, while no longer in the same struggle, felt discarded and left out of what many considered at that time to still be a new dawn despite their essential role in its rising.


Members of Umkhonto weSizwe carry Hani's coffin at a vigil in Soweto in April 2003.

25 May 1990. When Chris Hani was leader of uMkhonto weSizwe and they had talks of the possibility of a ceasefire and merging with the South African Defence Force. Read the story 



However, by the early 2000s both MK and SADF members say they have been discarded by their former organisations, and members of both who attempted integration into the new South African National Defence Force detail their difficulties and frustrations with the process. MK respondents emphasise their distance from the ANC but also their ongoing and paradoxical loyalty to the organisation.

One former MK member says: “The disparities that exist now are not only between ourselves and our white counterparts but our comrades as well, that have become, overnight, bourgeoisie and they are driving flashy cars and sleeping in very expensive hotels; they fly over our heads.”

Read these stories for a closer look to understand today.

4 April 2003.  The Forgotten Soldiers

23 December 2011.‘Failed promises steal the glitter from MK’s golden jubilee’

26 August 2016. Tales from the armed struggle: There were heroes in MK but villains, too

8 June 2021. ANC disbands the MK Military Veterans Association


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Vote 2024

Ahead of the national elections, the glaring dissatisfaction with municipal performance reveals deep-seated governance challenges across South Africa. Consistently we see a critical need for robust planning, monitoring, and evaluation within municipalities. We aren’t happy and we want our elected officials to do better.

Read: ‘How to boost municipal performance’


Graphic Tl Municipal Page 0001
(Graphic:John McCann/M&G)






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