Doctored video does not show Trump backing new South African party

A video circulating on social media purports to show former US president Donald Trump endorsing South Africa’s newly launched uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) -- a political party backed by the country’s ex-leader Jacob Zuma ahead of national elections in May 2024. However, AFP Fact Check found the video was created by altering a 2017 NBC interview with Trump. 

The 30-second clip published on X on March 9, 2024, allegedly shows Trump saying: “Greeting all South Africans my name is President Donald Trump. I urge all South Africans to vote for uMkhonto WeSizwe May 29, the African National Congress of Cyril Ramaphosa has failed all South Africans. With this new backed party by President Jacob Zuma, all South Africans will matter (sic).

The audio is visibly out of sync with Trump’s lips. 

A screenshot of the misleading X post, taken on March 13, 2024

Media reports have likened the two former presidents to each other, including here and here (archived here and here).

A screenshot of an article comparing Zuma and Trump

The X account sharing the video belongs to Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, who has been using her platform of nearly 300,000 followers to campaign for her father and his party.

She was also investigated for instigating violence ahead of the July 2021 riots (archived here). The unrest caused more than 350 deaths and damage estimated at 50 billion rand ($2.6 billion).

The video carries a watermark from this TikTok account, which features the MK party logo as its profile picture. The clip has since been removed from the page.

The TikTok user shares videos mainly in support of the MK party, including voice notes calling on voters to oust the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Trump 2017

A reverse image search of screenshots taken from the video revealed that the clip was created from an NBC interview with Trump in 2017 when he was still president (archived here). 

During the 13-minute exclusive interview published on May 12, 2017, Trump said he was preparing to fire then-FBI director James Comey.

He mentions neither South Africa nor the MK party, which was formed years later.

Both the altered clip and the NBC video show Trump wearing the same blue-striped tie and US flag pin on the left lapel of his navy suit jacket.

Screenshots comparing the AI-generated video (left) with the NBC News interview

Some social media users commenting on the clip indicated that the video was made using Parrot AI, a generator tool offering templates of famous people. The creator simply adds a text of what they want the celebrity to say. 

AFP Fact Check used the same program to recreate the video of Trump circulating online. The result shows him in the same pose and wearing the same suit and tie as seen in the doctored footage  (archived here). 

MK party

Weeks after backing the fledgling MK party, Zuma was suspended from the ANC on January 29, 2024 (archived here).

Zuma, the fourth president of democratic South Africa from 2009 to 2018, was forced from office under a cloud of corruption allegations and has since become estranged from the party he once led (archived here).

MK supporters during a recruitment drive on January 21, 2024 (AFP / EMMANUEL CROSET)

Recent articles report that the party wants Zuma to be its presidential candidate in the elections on May 29, 2024 (archived here). According to a recent survey, MK has gained significant popularity already (archived here).

The law dictates that he cannot contest the 2024 elections but his new party insists he should be allowed on the ballot.

Screenshot of a cartoon published ahead of the IEC court case on March 19, 2024

The ANC is waiting for judgment in an urgent application it filed with the Electoral Court objecting to the registration of MK as a political party (archived here).

The ANC wants the court to stop MK from using the logo and also wants "consequential relief" in the form of an inquiry into damages or reasonable royalties. 

MK’s name is taken from the old paramilitary wing of the ANC. The original uMkhonto weSizwe – meaning “Spear of the Nation” in isiZulu – was formed in the 1960s as an armed response to the repressive measures of the apartheid state (archived here).

The ANC believes that the MK party is trying to confuse and mislead voters. 

But MK hit back in court papers, saying the ANC had known about its looming formation since May 2023. 

The legal case around the logo dispute was postponed to March 27, 2024.

AFP Fact Check has previously debunked false claims about MK.

Metadata updated
April 26, 2024 Metadata updated

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