Warning — Zuma is not finished with us yet

South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma arrives with his daughter and member of uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Duduzile Zuma at the National Results Operation Centre of the IEC. REUTERS/Alet Pretorius
South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma arrives with his daughter and member of uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Duduzile Zuma at the National Results Operation Centre of the IEC. REUTERS/Alet Pretorius
Image: Alet Pretorius

It should not surprise anyone that former president Jacob Zuma on Saturday threatened violence if the election results announcement was made by the IEC as scheduled on Sunday afternoon.

Zuma has been planning to reject these results since January. We can say this because he told us so.

On January 5, Zuma addressed a meeting of the All African Alliance Movement in Soweto.

In a speech during which he became so cross that he swatted the media’s microphones off the podium, he claimed that South Africans were concerned about potential vote-rigging in the 2024 national and provincial elections.

“We are going to the elections soon and there are people who believe the elections will be rigged,” he said.

“Some have information that the counting system will be changed to advantage a particular party. Where is the truth?”

Five months later, he has not produced this information or named his sources.

He went on: “Why is there so much secrecy in our voting system? Especially the counting that is done behind the scenes?

“Why is the counting not done transparently in front of everyone.”

Counting of votes is done in front of all party agents in SA, including the MK Party’s agents, after the May 29 election.

“What are they hiding from those that have voted?” he asked then.

“These are the things that make those that have won to be declared losers. That is fraud.”

Zuma was deputy president of SA between 1999 and 2005.

He was president between 2009 and 2018.

Never once did he complain about the security or legitimacy of the electoral system or try to use his considerable influence, power and experience to decrease unfair or illegitimate attacks on the IEC.

In January, he claimed that votes were being bought and that the MK Party and other “progressive parties” must campaign to win a two-thirds majority which would enable them to change electoral legislation.

“It cannot be that people vote a particular way and then there are those with deep pockets who buy votes. That is blatant fraud,” he said

These unsubstantiated claims resurfaced on Saturday night when Zuma addressed the media at the IEC results centre in Midrand and threatened violence.

He told a media conference in which his supporters clapped repeatedly: “There is a tendency in this country to ignore serious matters.

“There are people who get arrested, even if they’ve done nothing, but there are people who commit serious crimes. Nothing happened to them.”

So why does Zuma say and do all these things that are meant to undermine the IEC and any institution of our democracy?

It seems to me that Zuma has been clear that the IEC will declare him a winner by a two-thirds majority and that nothing else will do.

One of his jumbled utterances on Saturday evening was: “You [the IEC] are supposed to be working for us.

“This is not for us to trouble us as South Africans because we know we needed a two-thirds majority. Don’t try to interfere.”

These attacks on the IEC, the Electoral Court and the Constitutional Court, and remarks about a two-thirds majority, have been uttered before by members of Zuma’s inner circle.

Visvin Reddy, an MK leader in KwaZulu-Natal, said in a viral video a few months ago: “We are sending a loud and clear message. That is: these courts are sometimes captured.

“If they stop the MK Party, there will be anarchy in this country.

He was not done. Chillingly, he said: “There will be riots like you have never seen in this country.

“There will be no election. No South African will go to the polls if the MK Party is not on the ballot.

MK Party youth leader Bonginkosi Khanyile said: “We want a letter from them [the IEC] that says Zuma is eligible.

“If it means that we must attack them, I will attack them first. I want peace

“I will never surrender the revolution in the name of peace. We are winning this election.

These threats of chaos are clearly endorsed from the very top of the MK Party.

Zuma’s words on Saturday were a threat of violence, something that a leader should never do in the volatile environment we already find ourselves in.

Zuma’s words are worth repeating here for those who weren’t listening: “Nobody must declare [the official results] tomorrow.

“If that happens, people will be provoked, we know what we are talking about.

“I am hoping whoever is responsible is hearing us. Don’t start trouble when there is no trouble.”

I warned in early January that where Zuma goes anarchy and chaos are never far off. He is not finished with us yet.

The man in whose name the July 2021 riots were carried out is back.

It will need sensible South Africans across all walks of life to remind him that these are the kinds of politics we do not want in our country.


Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.