Nathi Nhleko Joins Umkhonto weSizwe Party Ahead of 2024 Elections

Nathi Nhleko Joins Umkhonto weSizwe Party Ahead of 2024 Elections

In a notable political shift, the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, associated with former president Jacob Zuma, has announced the appointment of Nathi Nhleko, a former Police Minister and African National Congress (ANC) member, as its national organiser in preparation for the upcoming 2024 national and provincial elections. This move comes amidst earlier assertions from the party dismissing claims of Nhleko’s affiliation with the MKP as unfounded rumors.

Nhleko’s involvement with the MKP became apparent through his participation in several of the party’s strategic meetings as the election period approaches. His transition to the MKP was preceded by a resignation from the ANC last month, a decision he attributed to discrepancies between his personal values and those currently upheld by the ANC, particularly pointing to Fikile Mbalula, the party’s secretary-general, as a catalyst for his departure. In his resignation, Nhleko expressed a disheartenment with the ANC’s deviation from its core values and principles, stating,

“I resign from this African National Congress as its current values and principles are not aligned with mine,”

Nhleko’s appointment follows other notable defections to the MKP, including former ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) Mervyn Dirks and Areta co-founder Nkosentsha Shezi, both of whom have recently aligned themselves with the MK Party. Dirks faced expulsion from the ANC subsequent to his allegiance with the MKP, while Shezi, a known Zuma ally, left the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for the MKP.

The MKP has articulated its ambition to solidify its campaign machinery with the aim of achieving a two-thirds majority in the forthcoming elections. An official deployment letter from the MKP emphasized the necessity for all provincial convenors, coordinators, and national structures to maintain discipline, urging the integration and collaboration of all provincial structures to propel the organization toward its ambitious electoral goal.

Nhleko’s departure from the ANC was marked by a poignant critique of the party’s evolution, lamenting the transformation of the ANC into an entity unrecognizable from the liberation movement he once knew.

In his resignation letter, he said it was “painful” to see the ANC turn into a party he no longer recognised, the ANC whose only aspiration was to liberate the people.

His decision came in the wake of a public disagreement with Mbalula, following Mbalula’s admission that the ANC had misrepresented facts to Parliament concerning the Nkandla report, aimed at safeguarding Zuma.

The revelation by Mbalula occurred in January, during an ANC campaign event in Mpumalanga, where he conceded that the party had misled about Nkandla’s controversial “fire pool.” Nhleko’s response to Mbalula’s confession was harsh, labeling him as the most ineffective secretary-general in the history of the ANC, which spans 112 years.

Concurrently, a legal battle between the MKP and the ANC over the registration and trademark rights to the MK name has unfolded. However, the MK Party secured a victory in this dispute, with the Johannesburg High Court upholding the legality and constitutionality of its registration on a recent Tuesday.

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