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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Zuma’s MK party slams claims that Zulu tribalism is reason for election success

Gwede Mantashe and Helen Zille both attributed the MK party’s strong showing to voting along tribalism and ethnic identity.


The uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party has denounced suggestions that its success so far in the 2024 elections is a result of Zulu tribalism.

African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Gwede Mantashe and Democratic Alliance (DA) federal chair Helen Zille on Thursday both attributed the strong performance of the MK party to voting around tribalism and ethnic identity. The MK party is led by former president Jacob Zuma, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal and has often emphasised his Zulu ethnicity.

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Claims of Zulu nationalism ‘disrespectful’

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela, however, said the remarks by Mantashe and Zille are disrespectful.

“This deeply disrespectful and insulting perspective not only undermines the political agency of the Zulu people but also dismisses their legitimate political choices as mere tribal affiliations. Such divisive rhetoric portrays the Zulu people as non-thinking and sheep-like, following an outdated narrative that is both dangerous and offensive.

“This recklessness and stupidity follow similarly offensive remarks from the so-called ANC Youth League president, who disparagingly suggested that Zulu people vote along tribal lines,” Ndhlela said.

ALSO READ: Mantashe’s tribalism argument dismissed by analysts

Comments on Zuma ‘reflect leadership crisis’

Ndhlela said the MK party views the statements as “reflective of a leadership in crisis”.

“Rather than addressing the real issues facing our nation such as unemployment, poverty, and load shedding, [the ANC] resorts to scapegoating and blame-shifting – a typical behaviour of a failed administration attempting to divert attention from its own shortcomings by invoking tribal sentiments.

“Adding insult to injury, Helen Zille of the Democratic Alliance – a party that is nothing but a modern iteration of the apartheid-era National Party – has, like the ANC, also labelled the MK party’s success in KZN as ‘Zulu tribalism’. This common mentality, foolish and non sensical as it is, is not surprising as it is an open secret the two are on the verge of forming a coalition,” Ndhlela said.

ALSO READ: Zuma’s MK party may become third-largest opposition in SA – Analyst

MK party says voters have spoken

Ndhlela said the people have spoken.

“Civil society at large is sending a clear and an unambiguous message that they will no longer tolerate a government controlled by white monopoly capital, where wealth continues to be concentrated in white hands, with blacks receiving crumbs as bystanders in their own country.”

The MK party has called on all South Africans to reject “these parties for their attempts to regress to the toxic times of tribalism and racism and join the MK party in calling for an end to their embarrassing immaturity.”

ALSO READ: IEC election results dashboard and screens back up after technical glitch (VIDEO)

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