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South Africa’s controversial former president Jacob Zuma holds rally

South Africa's controversial former president Jacob Zuma holds rally

Former South African President Jacob Zuma launched his newly formed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party’s manifesto at a rally in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Addressing thousands of supporters he lamented the high levels of poverty amongst Black South Africans and promised to create jobs. And he also pledged to tackle the high levels of crime ahead of the country’s much anticipated elections.

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Former South African President Jacob Zuma arrives at Orlando stadium in the township of Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa., May 18th 2024.Jerome Delay/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

And his party would build factories where many South Africans would be employed and provide free education for the country’s youth, he added.

Zuma has also pledged to change the country’s Constitution to restore more powers to traditional leaders, saying their role in society has been reduced by giving more powers to magistrates and judges.

Zuma’s party has emerged as a significant player in South Africa’s upcoming elections after it was launched in December last year.

He is currently involved in a legal battle with the country’s electoral authority, the Independent Electoral Commission.

He has appealed against a court judgment which barred him from standing in the election because of his criminal record.

Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for defying a court order to appear before a judicial commission of inquiry probing corruption allegation in government and state-owned companies during his presidential term from 2009 to 2018.

In 2018, he was forced to resign as the country’s president following wide-ranging corruption allegations, but he has made a political return seeking to become the country’s president again.

“My biggest problem is that we (South Africa) has too many political parties. Too much. They are the cause of our people suffering even more,” Zuma told his supporters, many of whom had travelled from other provinces like Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, where he still enjoys significant support.

Poverty among black people is the reason behind South Africa’s high levels of crime, according to the former president.

«Victims of crime are often Black people. The reason for this is because of poverty. People are hungry. They have nothing to eat. So if you see it (food) next door, what else are you supposed to do,” he said.

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