Royal hat thrown into the presidential ring
Lindiwe Sisulu’s restraint regarding candidature vanishes with her call to save the ANC
Human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu officially launched her presidential campaign on Sunday with the tagline, “It’s a must”.
Though catchy, the slogan might prove to be a shortcoming for a candidate who, just two months ago, spoke against ANC leaders accepting nominations prior to the official launch of the process in September.
Back then, she said those who opportunistically started their campaigns early — a dig at Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-zuma — were wrong to “take the shortest route possible”.
Yet, when she stood on the podium in Kliptown this weekend explaining why it is “a must” for her to stand, her restraint for the sake of the party was nowhere to be found.
Sisulu told the hundreds who gathered at the spot where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955 that she wanted to earn them “something more valuable than money: integrity, honour, courage and respect”.
“We have to save the ANC,” she implored.
There is another reason why her slogan may work against her. Unlike those she stands against, Sisulu was born into political royalty. She is the daughter of struggle icons Albertina and Walter Sisulu. Can “It’s a must” be interpreted as an unambiguous attempt to suggest that, by virtue of her lineage, she is worthy of the top post?
Others may question whether it was “a must” for her to defend President Jacob Zuma in parliament, even while the nation was demanding answers from its first citizen.
Their minds could drift to the time she rebuked DA parliamentarians for having “weak minds” when they called Zuma to account, even going so far as to describe DA chief whip John Steenhuisen as an “esteemed chief clown”.