Where is Baba? Inside ANC’s struggles to meet with Zuma [VIDEO]

While the ANC shops around for coalition partners, MK party leader Jacob Zuma has seemingly 'vanished'.

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has reportedly been “knocking at Nkandla’s door” to no avail, suggesting that coalition talks with the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party have stalled because Jacob Zuma is unavailable.

The former president’s six-month-old party claimed 46% of the vote in KwaZulu-Natal and 15% nationally in last week’s polls. It is now in a strong position to influence coalition negotiations.

Where is Baba? ANC struggling to get hold of Zuma

As the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is set to meet on Thursday to discuss the way forward in their coalition talks, Mbalula said contacting the MK party had been “very difficult”.

“It is very difficult to talk to people there, because when you talk to them, they say they are still waiting for Baba [Zuma] and that Baba can’t be found.”

ALSO READ: Choices for ANC: Top choice would be a government of national unity

‘We have tried to reach out’

Speaking outside the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg on Thursday, Mbalula said the ANC was still undecided on whether to continue to engage with the MK party.

“We have tried to reach out and we drew blanks. It depends on this [NEC] meeting whether we will still meet with them. We are open to speaking to everyone, including the MK party.”

WATCH: Mbalula on coalition talks with MK party

MK party ‘willing to work with ANC’…minus Ramaphosa

When asked specifically about working with the ANC, MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela told The Citizen the party was willing to work with the ruling party and all progressive formations, except the DA.

It has in the past made it clear that it was not willing to officially meet with the ANC unless it axes President Cyril Ramaphosa from his position as party president.

MK national executive committee member and Zuma’s daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla told the media last Friday that a post-election marriage between the ANC and MK party can only succeed without Ramaphosa in the mix.

MK party Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla
Former president Jacob Zuma’s daughter and MK party member Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla. Picture: Michel Bega

“Definitely not the ANC of Ramaphosa,” she said, adding that MK was only willing to work with “progressive black parties”.

ALSO READ: MK party smells blood in KZN: Supporters stage mock funeral for ANC [VIDEO]

‘Ramaphosa is the president of the ANC’ – Mbalula

In a media briefing on Sunday, Mbalula emphasised that the ANC will not heed any political parties‘ demand that Ramaphosa step down.

“Ramaphosa is the president of the ANC. If you come to us with a demand that Ramaphosa must stand down as president, that is not going to happen.”

MK party in talks with Mantashe?

Meanwhile, Zuma’s party has already started to engage with ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe on the sidelines at the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC) National Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand last week. 

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela confirmed to Daily Maverick that the party had already started informal talks with the ANC’s national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe.

“They [ANC] have heard enough,” Ndhlela told the publication.

“Gwede Mantashe knows [our position]. We will engage with the ANC, but we will not engage with the ANC of Ramaphosa.”

NOW READ: Unions warn against ANC-DA coalition, say workers’ rights at stake

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