Worries over another Zuma as SA leader
THE ANC is undeniably in an intractable situation with regard to its next president after Jacob Zuma.
The heat of the succession debate is so high because the party’s 54th national conference in December is characterised by something unusual – the gender issue.
Those who are waiting for better service delivery this year are probably going to be forgotten by the ANC-led government since the focus is on the party’s leadership battle.
It has been the ANC’s modus operandi that any person who is the deputy president becomes the president.
Nelson Mandela was the ANC’s deputy president when Oliver Tambo was the president. Mandela subsequently became the party’s president.
So it was with Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma – they were both the deputy presidents before they were presidents.
It was obvious for all those who were deputy presidents that they would ascend to the presidential position. Unfortunately, the situation is completely different this time for Cyril Ramaphosa.
Gender had never been an issue in the ANC until lately when it became a serious topic. Previously the ANC spoke about the president, regardless of whether the candidate was a man or a woman. The issue is different today. The party is divided. For example, the ANC Women’s League is vigorously calling for a woman president, hence Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is its preferred candidate.
Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma are so far the main contenders for the ANC’s presidency.
I’m opposed to those who are claiming that South Africa is “now” ready for a woman president. What makes the country ready now and why wasn’t it ready for a female president since 1994? Can it be that no female member was suitable except for Dlamini Zuma?
It’s known that President Zuma backs a female president and is behind his ex-wife ascending the throne. This can simply be interpreted to mean that he’s denigrating Ramaphosa and using it as a way of discouraging his efforts to get the ANC’s top position.
I say this because there are those who believe that Zuma is a crowd-puller for the ANC. It means that he wields enormous influence within the party and for him to openly support having a female president is also a way to influence and strengthen support for his ex-wife.
Perhaps it would have been good for Zuma as the president of the party to remain silent and sustain impartiality on the matter.
Nevertheless, politics is a game of its own and he’s aware that should his ex-wife becomes the president, he may be given a government position either inside or outside the country.
Even those pushing for either a male or female president are confident that they will be given a piece of the pie once their preferred candidate becomes the president.
Surely Dlamini Zuma is having a more extensive political experience in government structures than Ramaphosa. I don’t agree with those who say she’s using her experience as a phenomenon that entitles her to be the next president of the ANC. That’s an illusion.
Political leadership is more about qualities than experience, regardless of whether that person is a man or a woman.
Mandela had no experience in the government before he became president. However, because of the qualities he possessed, he emerged as one of the most exceptional presidents in the world, and is admired and respected posthumously.
Whether a man or a woman, the ANC needs a leader with good qualities.
Come December, let a leader of that calibre become the ANC’s president. Temba, Hammanskraal
NEXT IN LINE? President Jacob Zuma, right, and then deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe with Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, left. Zuma is backing his ex-wife for his own political agenda, says the writer.