Uhuru-Spirit News


January 08, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) will formally back the outgoing chairwoman of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed her ex-husband President Jacob Zuma as ANC president as well as South African president, the league said on Saturday.

In a statement issued after its extended national executive committee (NEC) meeting held at Irene on Friday and Saturday, the ANCWL said that “after careful consideration and opening our eyes as wide as possible”, Dlamini-Zuma “is the only suitable candidate at this point in our history to lead the African National Congress in December 2017”.

“In line with the 50/50 representation in the officials, the ANCWL has resolved to lobby for comrade Baleka Mbete, cde Jessie Duarte, cde Nosiviwe Mapisa – Nqakula, cde Lindiwe Sisuslu, cde Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and cde Nomvula Mokonyane to be considered in the other five of the six official positions of the ANC in December 2017. Of importance is the decision that cde Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is a presidential candidate of the ANCWL and nobody else,” the statement said.

Dlamini-Zuma’s “legacy and influence is known and well documented throughout the history pages of the republic and beyond”. The ANCWL had satisfied itself that Dlamini-Zuma “not only meets, but is an embodiment of leadership as espoused by ‘through the eye of a needle’. She grew organically within the structures of the movement, the ANC”.

“We are also aware that only one individual can carry the magnitude of a task at a time and as the ANCWL we have searched through the structures of the ANC and have found cde Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be ready to lead the collective leadership of both the ANC in 2017, and the republic in 2019 as the president,” the league said.

The ANC will pick a new leader at a conference in December and, given its national dominance since coming to power at the end of apartheid in 1994, the winner is likely to go on to be South Africa's next president when elections are held in 2019.

The Women's League's endorsement is the first for a specific candidate by a national section of the ANC and will intensify the debate over who will take the party forward after it suffered its worst local election results last year.

Dlamini-Zuma was regarded as a capable technocrat during her time as South Africa's minister of home affairs between 2009 and 2012 and has since gained international exposure during her time as the first female head of the African Union.

However, critics of Dlamini-Zuma, a medical doctor trained in South Africa and Britain, say she should have done more to intervene when former president Thabo Mbeki denied that HIV causes AIDs and imposed anti-scientific policies.

Mbeki's stance has been blamed by health activists for more than 300,000 preventable deaths. Dlamini-Zuma was foreign minister in Mbeki's cabinet and one of his closest allies.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a unionist-turned-business tycoon, is viewed as her most likely rival after powerful trade unions endorsed him last year.

Neither Dlamini-Zuma, 67, or Ramaphosa, 64, have declared their intention to run.

Ramaphosa, who was once touted as a successor to Nelson Mandela, would be the first choice for many investors because his background in commerce suggests he will support more pro-business policies than many in the traditionally left-wing ANC.

However, he will face criticism from opponents for his role at platinum producer Lonmin where he was a director and shareholder when violence led to police shooting dead 34 striking miners in 2012. An investigation has cleared him of wrongdoing.

The Women's League has a block of votes at the party conference and are a critical lobbying group for the ANC, particularly in galvanising support among female voters.

- with ANA/Reuters

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