BLF be­lieves it has ticket for elec­tions – rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion

The Sunday Independent - - Politics - KAILENE PIL­LAY AND SAMKELO MTSHALI

TALKS of the Black First Land First move­ment (BLF) run­ning for the 2019 elec­tions were at the fore­front of dis­cus­sions among sup­port­ers that gath­ered out­side the Dur­ban High Court on Fri­day when for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma ap­peared for the first time since the re­in­state­ment of charges against him.

The for­mer pres­i­dent is fac­ing charges of money laun­der­ing, cor­rup­tion and rack­e­teer­ing.

Thabi Myeni, sec­re­tary of the gen­der and sex­u­al­ity move­ment in the BLF, said they be­lieved the ANC had done Zuma wrong and that the rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion move­ment within the ANC was the only fac­tion that had “found the right path”.

“I be­lieve they (the ANC) will get votes next year but the BLF move­ment is also push­ing to run for elec­tions and we’re go­ing to run us­ing th­ese poli­cies. We are go­ing to push th­ese poli­cies that the ANC has left be­hind,” Myeni said.

The BLF move­ment had a strong pres­ence out­side the high court, with many say­ing they had not slept as they were part of an all-night vigil for Zuma that started the day be­fore at Al­bert Park.

Nokuthula Msomi, from KwaMashu, who at­tended the march, said Zuma had been vil­i­fied and cast as an un­wanted fig­ure al­though she felt he was im­por­tant to the ANC, par­tic­u­larly the vot­ers from KwaZulu-Natal, ahead of next year’s elec­tions.

She said Zuma had an abil­ity to res­onate with many of the prov­ince’s cit­i­zens and the way the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee had treated him by forc­ing him out of of­fice might come back to hurt it next year if Zuma’s back­ers de­cided not to vote for the party.

How­ever, she said she would re­main loyal to the ANC de­spite her ob­jec­tions to his oust­ing.

“As we came out in his sup­port as party mem­bers and sup­port­ers in KZN, it was a show of sol­i­dar­ity with him… but I won’t desert the ANC,” Msomi said.

One woman, who ig­nored the ban on wear­ing ANC re­galia, said she was still an ANC sup­porter and would vote for the party she had sup­ported her en­tire life in the 2019 elec­tions.

“We are mem­bers of the ANC so we will still vote ANC, but that doesn’t mean we can­not sup­port our pres­i­dent,” she said.

IFP mem­ber Melwa Mz­imela, who bravely wore his party’s re­galia, said he was there in sup­port of all the peo­ple who were suf­fer­ing in South Africa be­cause of Zuma.

He said all those who were present to sup­port Zuma were there to sup­port cor­rup­tion.

“Th­ese are not ANC sup­port­ers. We know the ANC and it is not a cor­rupt party that sup­ports cor­rup­tion, but th­ese peo­ple are here only to sup­port cor­rup­tion that has been done by one per­son, Zuma,” Mz­imela said.

He said the IFP was ready for 2019 and that they were con­fi­dent of gain­ing the votes that were lost to the ANC in the past.

An­other Zuma sup­porter, Kwenza Nz­i­mande, said the for­mer pres­i­dent was be­ing sin­gled out and be­ing made to bear the brunt of the law de­spite the ANC be­ing rid­dled with cor­rupt in­di­vid­u­als.

“Zuma’s dig­nity is be­ing at­tacked be­cause if he in­deed was in­volved in cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties, then surely he was not alone. The ANC is bi­ased in the way it han­dled Zuma be­cause cor­rup­tion didn’t start with Zuma.

“There are many in­di­vid­u­als who have been in­volved in cor­rup­tion in the ANC who should also have been pros­e­cuted, but now it’s all on Zuma. He has not been treated fairly by his own party,” Nz­i­mande said.

He said in KZN alone there were thou­sands of vot­ers who voted for the ANC be­cause Zuma was their hope and that the party was at a huge risk of alien­at­ing that sup­port base.

“When I vote next year I will only do so for the ANC be­cause it’s the rul­ing party right now, but I al­ready doubt its power and abil­ity to lead.”

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