‘We are not vot­ing cows’

As con­tes­ta­tion for the ANC pres­i­dency hots up, back­ers of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are go­ing all out to punt the no­tion of a woman be­ing given the top job

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

ANC Women’s League pres­i­dent Batha­bile Dlamini yes­ter­day fired the first salvo aimed at dis­pelling the wide­spread no­tion that vot­ing for pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Nkosazana DalminiZuma would be akin to vot­ing for Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, who is her ex-hus­band and an ar­dent sup­porter of her cam­paign. City Press has learnt that, fol­low­ing the party’s bruis­ing pol­icy con­fer­ence, which took place a few weeks ago, the Dlamini-Zuma camp is still con­fi­dent that she will be crowned ANC pres­i­dent at the De­cem­ber con­fer­ence.

How­ever, they are aware that for this to hap­pen she must change the pub­lic’s im­pres­sion that she is Zuma’s proxy – and do so with­out alien­at­ing his sup­port base.

In Kim­ber­ley in the North­ern Cape yes­ter­day, Dlamini sought to deal with this con­cern about Dlamini-Zuma.

She said it was “re­ac­tionary” to say that “if you elect Dlamini-Zuma, you are elect­ing Zuma”.

She added that Dlamini-Zuma was a doc­tor by pro­fes­sion, but it was her pas­sion for the coun­try that drove her to join the ANC and be­come an anti-apartheid ac­tivist.

“We are go­ing to de­bunk all the lies that they are go­ing to tell about Dlamini-Zuma,” she said, adding that her de­trac­tors were “hid­ing high lev­els of pa­tri­archy”.

“All along they thought we were pas­sen­gers in the train, when women have al­ways been part of the strug­gle. So, it is not as a favour that we want a woman as pres­i­dent,” she said.

Dlamini, who is also the min­is­ter of so­cial devel­op­ment, said women com­prised more than 60% of the ANC “and they want to make us their vot­ing cows”.

“The time has come for the ANC to be led by a woman. It is not a present. We have cho­sen the best among the best. So, Dlamini-Zuma is not just a leader but also a hard worker.”

Dlamini-Zuma has spent the past few days in the North­ern Cape prov­ince to drum up sup­port. Her ef­forts have in­cluded con­duct­ing door-to-door cam­paigns in Ku­ru­man.

Events in the prov­ince were or­gan­ised by the lo­cal ANC women’s and youth leagues, the Umkhonto weSizwe Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion and ANC rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Frances Baard District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Ali Diteme, spokesper­son for the ANC Frances Baard re­gion, told City Press that Dlamini-Zuma was “a prod­uct of the ANC and Umkhonto weSizwe”.

“It is mis­chievous to sug­gest that she is a proxy of any leader of the ANC,” he said.

“The ANC has al­lowed for ev­ery mem­ber in good stand­ing to lobby and be lob­bied for a po­si­tion of lead­er­ship.”

At the pol­icy con­fer­ence, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza – who is also the ANC’s pro­vin­cial chair­per­son – seemed to switch his sup­port from Dlamini-Zuma to pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Cyril Ramaphosa. How­ever, Dlamini-Zuma’s back­ers are con­vinced that the rest of the prov­ince is still be­hind her.

As pro­vin­cial lobby groups met to dis­cuss their pref­er­ences, ten­sions arose be­tween Dlamini-Zuma’s camps in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. They em­anated from per­cep­tions that KwaZu­luNatal sought to use its nu­mer­i­cal ma­jor­ity in terms of ANC mem­ber­ship to “call the shots” and dom­i­nate other prov­inces.

How­ever, the mat­ter has been set­tled, and ANC pro­vin­cial work­ing com­mit­tee groups from both prov­inces are ex­pected to meet and tie the loose ends when Mabuza re­turns from an of­fi­cial trade and in­vest­ment trip to Rus­sia. Mpumalanga’s ANC wants Mabuza to be deputy pres­i­dent. Dlamini-Zuma’s lobby is also hit­ting the right notes for North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, who is also the ANC’s pro­vin­cial chair. Mahumapelo said any ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful who came up with prac­ti­cal proposals to “de­feat West­ern im­pe­ri­al­ism” would get his sup­port. Mahumapelo told City Press that “re­gard­less who they are, if we can have a leader who pro­nounces that prac­ti­cally, this and that will cul­tur­ally, eco­nom­i­cally and po­lit­i­cally thwart im­pe­ri­al­ism, we are fully be­hind them”. Although Mahumapelo said he would be guided by ANC branches and an­nounce the prov­ince’s pre­ferred ANC pres­i­den­tial can­di­date at the right time, he was aware that Dlamini-Zuma’s camp punted rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion as her cam­paign ticket, pro­mot­ing it as the best de­fence against West­ern im­pe­ri­al­ism. But he op­posed the ar­gu­ment that the ANC’s num­ber two should be­come the “nat­u­ral” suc­ces­sor, say­ing it was sim­plis­tic and un­con­sti­tu­tional. Last week, City Press re­ported that Zuma, who is aligned with the Dlamini-Zuma cam­paign, fin­gered un­known West­ern forces for try­ing to get rid of him as ANC pres­i­dent in or­der to hi­jack the party. On Wed­nes­day, Mahumapelo said: “We are look­ing for a per­son who is not go­ing to sell South Africa to the West, who are the im­pe­ri­al­ists. That is key. We can­not al­low South Africa to be con­trolled by the US and UK.” He said that if unchecked, the two global su­per­pow­ers “are ba­si­cally go­ing to pocket South Africa and we are go­ing to be­come a pseudo state, con­trolled by im­pe­ri­al­ism.” He told City Press that lobby bids by the ANC women’s and youth leagues for Dlamini-Zuma were “epoch-mak­ing”. “It says to the ANC that af­ter 105 years, as an or­gan­i­sa­tion that sub­scribes to non­sex­ism, it has never had a fe­male sec­re­tary-gen­eral or pres­i­dent. Is that not a con­tra­dic­tion in terms, in that we say we are build­ing a non­sex­ist so­ci­ety, but prac­ti­cally, in the way that we elect lead­ers within struc­tures, we are not demon­strat­ing that?” he said.

He said the ANC’s al­liance part­ners – the SA Com­mu­nist Party and trade fed­er­a­tion Cosatu – which have en­dorsed Ramaphosa, “must make a bet­ter ar­gu­ment for their can­di­date”.

“If their premise is that if you are deputy, then nat­u­rally you must be pres­i­dent, we are flout­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion – be­cause it says any mem­ber can con­test for pres­i­dent. Their point of de­par­ture is prob­lem­atic and needs to change.

“You are say­ing the pres­i­dency must be un­con­tested and the only per­son who must be avail­able for the po­si­tion is num­ber two. The ANC does not work like that.”

Mahumapelo said his de­trac­tors were de­lib­er­ately “tweak­ing” his views to cre­ate a mis­chievous im­pres­sion that he was against Ramaphosa.

A leaked video of Mahumapelo ad­dress­ing a meet­ing of North West and KwaZulu-Natal del­e­gates dur­ing the pol­icy con­fer­ence was dis­trib­uted to show fac­tional be­hav­iour.

Mahumapelo said that in these types of con­fer­ences, “chair­per­sons lead del­e­ga­tions”.

“I have been ad­dress­ing our del­e­gates ev­ery day in­side the hall be­fore we part ways. It was not a se­cret.

“We were then ap­proached by KwaZulu-Natal to say in­stead of us ad­dress­ing our del­e­gates sep­a­rately, why don’t we bring them to­gether next to the hall.

“Now peo­ple cir­cu­late this thing like it is a se­cret meet­ing.”

TALK TO US Do you think it is good enough to punt a woman for the pres­i­dency on the grounds that it is time this hap­pened?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word PRES­I­DENT and tell us what you think. In­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

Nkosazana DlaminiZuma

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