The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - BONGANI HANS

ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has turned to the church and so­cial net­works to give im­pe­tus to her am­bi­tion to lead the ANC and the coun­try.

The for­mer AU com­mis­sion chair­per­son spent part of her weekend ad­dress­ing con­gre­gants at the Catholic Church in Mar­i­annhill, west of Dur­ban. She also tweeted about the im­por­tance of a woman in a lead­er­ship po­si­tion.

This was the first time that Dlamini Zuma spoke openly about the pres­i­den­tial race, in which she and Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa are re­garded as fron­trun­ners.

“I am say­ing it is time for a woman to be in charge. If we can run our homes, we can run the coun­try,” Dlamini Zuma said, with­out specif­i­cally men­tion­ing her­self.

She has been spend­ing a lot of her time in KwaZu­luNatal, her strong­hold prov­ince, ad­dress­ing gath­er­ings ever since her re­turn from the AU’s seat of power in Ad­dis Ababa.

She is be­ing strongly sup­ported by the ANC Youth League, the ANC Women’s League and the MK Military Veter­ans As­so­ci­a­tion.

So far, Ramaphosa has been en­dorsed by Cosatu and the SACP.

Since the ANC and its al­liance part­ners started talk­ing about lead­er­ship suc­ces­sion, Dlamini Zuma has re­fused to be drawn on the mat­ter, but this weekend, she said that only when a woman was in charge would women taste free­dom.

Dlamini Zuma also par­tic­u­larly en­joys the sup­port of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, who will step down as ANC pres­i­dent in De­cem­ber when the party holds its elec­tive na­tional conference in Joburg.

“Once we elect the woman, she will do what we want as women,” said Dlamini Zuma, en­cour­ag­ing women to or­gan­ise them­selves to have their views heard by the gov­ern­ment.

“If a woman is elected, we will en­cour­age her to work with or­gan­ised women. But there is no woman who can run the coun­try with­out be­ing voted into power,” she said.

Dlamini Zuma seemed to be go­ing all out to cam­paign for the top spot. She tweeted at the weekend: “If we elect a fe­male pres­i­dent we can look to her to em­power women and fast-track women’s eman­ci­pa­tion.”

She added: “We are op­pressed be­cause we are poor, black and fe­male. Women are not only over 50% of the pop­u­la­tion but we also pro­duce the other 50%.”

She also tweeted that if women can lead their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties, “why can’t we lead South Africa?”

But she re­ceived a back­lash from Twit­ter users. Sarah-Leigh Elago @Ge­niusLeigh said: “You were the AU chair­per­son, first woman for that mat­ter, and you didn’t do much. Tell me how will you run a coun­try? Smh!”

The Black In­ferno @Brother­char­coal tweeted: “To call your­self poor just to get poor peo­ple’s sup­port and votes just shows what you re­ally think poor peo­ple are good for.”

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ralph Mathekga said Dlamini Zuma had started cam­paign­ing as soon as she landed at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port on her re­turn from Ethiopia.

“Those who or­gan­ised her wel­com­ing in­ten­tion­ally did so to be­gin her cam­paign, as this por­trayed her as some­one who is ready to lead the ANC.

“She has demon­strated a will­ing­ness to pick a fight,” Mathekga said, adding that al­though Dlamini Zuma never men­tions her­self when she ad­dresses gath­er­ings “she has got other peo­ple to men­tion her name for her”.

Mathekga said Ramaphosa had also started his cam­paign, as had par­lia­men­tary Speaker Baleka Mbete, who also har­bours pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions.

“It is a clan­des­tine cam­paign. Peo­ple are us­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties at of­fi­cial func­tions to ac­tu­ally make them­selves avail­able for lead­er­ship,” said Mathekga.

The ANC had banned can­di­dates from cam­paign­ing be­fore the process is of­fi­cially opened in Septem­ber.

Ramaphosa, mean­while, has ad­dressed gath­er­ings in the Eastern Cape, where he de­liv­ered a key­note ad­dress at a fundrais­ing ban­quet for the United Methodist Church of South­ern Africa in Mthatha. He also spoke at the 20th an­niver­sary of the Eastern Cape House of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers in Bhisho Sta­dium.

Ramaphosa told the Methodist Church fol­low­ers that the church had a vi­tal role to play in fight­ing cor­rup­tion and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“When the SACC (SA Coun­cil of Churches) es­tab­lished an un­bur­den­ing panel on these is­sues, it af­firmed the deep com­mit­ment of the church to work to ad­dress so­ci­ety’s wrongs,” he had said.

If we can run our homes, we can run the coun­try

CAM­PAIGN MODE: Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was told she didn’t do much as AU chair.

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