Dlamini Zuma:trans­for­ma­tion is not anti-white but pro-sa

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Back­ground

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was born on Jan­uary 27, 1949 in Kwazulu-na­tal and is the el­dest of eight chil­dren. She com­pleted high school at the Amanz­im­toti Train­ing Col­lege in 1967.

In 1971, she started her stud­ies in zo­ol­ogy and botany at the Univer­sity of Zu­l­u­land, where she ob­tained a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence de­gree. She be­gan her med­i­cal stud­ies at the now Univer­sity of Kwazu­lunatal, where she be­came an un­der­ground mem­ber of the South African Stu­dents’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion and was elected its deputy pres­i­dent in 1976.

She was ex­iled that year and fin­ished her stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Bris­tol in the UK in 1978. She then worked as a doc­tor at the Mba­bane gov­ern­ment hospi­tal in Swazi­land.

Dlamini Zuma has been awarded hon­orary doc­tor of law de­grees by UKZN and the Univer­sity of Bris­tol.

She chaired the AU Com­mis­sion, elected to this po­si­tion by African heads of state in July 2012. She served in this ca­pac­ity un­til March 2017, the first woman in 50 years to lead the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Fam­ily

While work­ing in Mba­bane, she met her for­mer hus­band, Ja­cob Zuma, the cur­rent pres­i­dent of South Africa.

She has four daugh­ters and a grand­son: Msholozi (born 1982); Gugulethu Zama-ncube (born 1985), who mar­ried the son of Zim­bab­wean politi­cian and MDC pres­i­dent Welsh­man Ncube; “Thuli” Nokuthula No­maqhawe (born 1987); and their youngest daugh­ter, Thuthuk­ile Zuma, who was ap­pointed chief of staff of the De­part­ment of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and Postal Ser­vices in 2014.

She di­vorced Zuma in 1998 when she was health min­is­ter and he was an MEC in KZN.

State cap­ture

Dlamini Zuma has voiced her sup­port for the es­tab­lish­ment of a com­mis­sion of in­quiry to get to the bot­tom of allegations of state cap­ture, al­though she said she could not do any­thing about it as she was not in gov­ern­ment.

She did say, how­ever, that if she were to be named the next pres­i­dent, she would not ig­nore the allegations against Zuma.

She was once quoted as say­ing: “Where allegations are made against any per­son, these must be in­ves­ti­gated so that the na­tion knows whether there is a ba­sis for charges, and to pro­vide them with an op­por­tu­nity to an­swer to the allegations.”

While other pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls listed state cap­ture as the fo­cus of their cam­paigns, Dlamini Zuma said her cam­paign fo­cused on ANC poli­cies and what needed to be done to unite the rul­ing party. Poverty and un­em­ploy­ment were also on her pri­or­ity list.

Rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion

She has called for sweep­ing rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion to help solve the prob­lem of slow eco­nomic growth. She de­fined it as “a fun­da­men­tal change in the struc­ture, sys­tems, in­sti­tu­tions, pat­terns of own­er­ship, man­age­ment and con­trol of the econ­omy in favour of the peo­ple, es­pe­cially the poor, the ma­jor­ity of whom are African and fe­male”.

She in­sisted the con­cept was not new to the coun­try. She called for a skills revo­lu­tion, say­ing the coun­try had a lot of po­ten­tial and iden­ti­fied in­dus­tries that needed to be ex­ploited to un­lock their eco­nomic po­ten­tial.

These in­cluded agriculture, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, tourism, in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and min­ing.

She stressed rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion was not an­ti­white but “pro-south Africa, just as gender equal­ity is not an­ti­men but pro-progress”.

“Our colonis­ers saw us as peo­ple to get wa­ter and wood for them. They saw Africa gen­er­ally as a sup­plier of raw ma­te­ri­als.”

Po­lit­i­cal back­ground

At univer­sity in the 1970s, Dlamini Zuma helped black stu­dents in their pur­suit of ed­u­ca­tion and was forced into ex­ile by the apartheid gov­ern­ment be­cause of her ac­tivism.

She was de­ployed to the ANC’S health de­part­ment in Lusaka, Zam­bia in 1989-1990, as part of the lead­er­ship tak­ing care of the com­mu­nity in ex­ile, and helped draft post-apartheid health poli­cies.

She par­tic­i­pated in the women’s sec­tion of the ANC. When the ANC was un­banned in 1990, Dlamini Zuma re­turned from ex­ile to play an in­stru­men­tal role in build­ing the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) struc­tures.

She was elected a mem­ber of the ANC South­ern Na­tal pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee while serv­ing as chair­per­son of the ANCWL, ANC cam­paigns com­mit­tee and ANC health com­mit­tee.

She was elected to the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, which she con­tin­ues to serve.

Dlamini Zuma was min­is­ter of health in the first postapartheid cab­i­net un­der Nel­son Man­dela from 1994 to 1999. She also served two terms as for­eign af­fairs min­is­ter be­tween 1999 and 2009.

She played a role in de­seg­re­gat­ing the health sys­tem and giv­ing the un­der­priv­i­leged ac­cess to free ba­sic health care. She had the dif­fi­cult job of for­mu­lat­ing the health-care struc­tures for nine prov­inces.

In 2009, she was ap­pointed min­is­ter of home af­fairs, a post she held un­til elected to chair the AU Com­mis­sion.

Po­lit­i­cal bag­gage

In 1995, the De­part­ment of Health awarded a R14.27mil­lion con­tract to play­wright Mbon­geni Ngema to pro­duce an Aids ed­u­ca­tion play, Sara­fina II, for young peo­ple.

The con­tract was crit­i­cised by the pub­lic pro­tec­tor for poor fi­nan­cial con­trols and com­mis­sion­ing pro­ce­dures af­ter jour­nal­ists in­ves­ti­gated the deal. She shelved the play.

She was also crit­i­cised for back­ing Aids drug Viro­dene, which was cheaper but re­jected by the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity for be­ing in­ef­fec­tive. Cam­paign­ing in Eva­ton, south of Jo­han­nes­burg.

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