Penuel The Black Pen: ‘How powerful is Jacob Zuma?’

Penuel The Black Pen: ‘How powerful is Jacob Zuma?’

As results trickle in, the MK Party has emerged as the third biggest party in SA. Can Jacob Zuma emerge as kingmaker in the just-ended elections?

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With 75.03% of the voting districts completed, Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) is gaining ground in the polls.

According to the results announced by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) so far, the MK Party is South Africa’s third-biggest party.


On 29 May, millions of South Africans voted in the just-ended elections, considered the country’s biggest elections since 1994. The turnout was one of the biggest in years, and several polling stations had to extend their voting hours since thousands were still in queues at 21:00.

ICE reported that by 7:00, 93 % of the polling stations had already opened. However, with the elections over, the world has been keeping track of the results being announced by the IEC.

Undoubtedly, former South African president Jacob Zuma is making headlines, with many convinced of his influence in South African politics. But is the 82-year-old politician still as influential outside the ruling party?

With uMkhonto weSizwe’s success in the just-ended elections, Jacob Zuma has proven to be a decisive figure in South African politics. Jacob Zuma dumped ANC in the eleventh hour despite maintaining that he was still a member of the revolutionary party.

He turned his back on the party that made him a two-time president between 2009 and 2018 – in favour of MK, which made it clear in its manifesto that it was challenging the governing party’s hold on power.

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However, multiple polls have since predicted that the ANC will lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the fall of Apartheid. Reports of a possible coalition government are already making rounds as the ruling party slips. Can former president Jacob Zuma emerge as kingmaker in the just-ended elections?

The MK Party claimed KwaZulu-Natal, a big blow for the ANC. Speaking to the media, ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe revealed that the MK Party’s performance in KwaZulu-Natal had surprised him.

Mantashe: “MK is doing well in KZN; they have surprised me a little bit. But they are not going to do that in other provinces… We are going to do well in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Free State, and we are doing relatively well in the North West.”

These crucial provinces were ANC strongholds in recent years. Despite being embroiled in several corruption scandals in post-apartheid history, Jacob Zuma returned to the political spotlight under the MK Party.

However, his return was marred by several court cases that seemingly disqualified him from being on the ballot. Nine days before the elections, the Constitutional Court ruled he was not eligible to be a Member of Parliament.

No doubt, Zuma’s influence left many puzzled. Several celebrities have since taken to social media to question whether he is South African politics’ kingmaker.

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