It is sad when a party loses talented people. It is sadder when one has worked for decades to build a party to see it teetering on the brink of a major setback.
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The politician doctor with the hyphenated surname might as well get rid of the hyphen. She is pure Zuma.
Even if South Africans succeed in getting rid of the Other Zuma, the Hyphenated One could end up being our president for many years to come.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma must surely have counted heads and done her calculations before she started with her campaign to become the ANC’s next president.
Before her return from her stint as chair of the African Union, I thought she would try not to position herself too closely to the traditional patronage networks of the man who is clearly her main promoter, Jacob Zuma; that she would try not to alienate those parts of the ANC that are critical of his leadership; and that she would attempt to straddle the divide to increase her chance of getting elected.
I was very wrong. There is no indication of that whatsoever.
And gone are the hopes of many South Africans that our first serious female presidential candidate would be a progressive constitutionalist untainted by the stench of state capture.
From the moment she returned from Addis Ababa, she fully associated herself with the Zuma support crowd: the ANC’s Youth and Women’s Leagues, the Premier League, the rural lobby of three provincial premiers, and other Zuma/Gupta-aligned bodies and people.
Dlamini-Zuma clearly figured out that this ANC faction had the biggest support and would make her president in the ANC’s elective conference in December.
Perhaps she also thought that being this camp’s official presidential candidate would ensure that she got the generous financial support of the Gupta family.
She not only surrounded herself with the Bathabile Dlaminis and Collen Maines, she even started talking like the Zuma faction.After the first mass protest against Zuma, Dlamini-Zuma reacted to Zuma’s statement that the protestors were racists and to criticisms of other Zuma supporters.
"This is what they are protecting,” she tweeted, “hence some of us are not part of this rubbish. They must join us for the march for our land they stole...”
Interestingly, her main opponent in the presidential race, Cyril Ramaphosa, commented a day later that the ANC and the government should take the protests seriously and listen to the people’s grievances.
Dlamini-Zuma later claimed that it was a fake tweet, but it has subsequently been proved that it wasn’t and that she was simply doing damage control after calling so many civil minded citizens “rubbish”.
She also attacked South Africa’s universities, accusing them of teaching students that South Africa was not a democracy, but a one-party state.
“They are taught it will only be a democracy when the opposition takes over,” she said. She said that former Model C schools (do we still call the urban schools that 23 years later?) teach children that the ANC was corrupt.
And then she said the state needed to strengthen its legal institutions because the DA “was using the judiciary to govern”. This presumably means she wants to change the Constitution to limit political parties’ and lobby groups’ access to the Constitutional and other courts. This is pure Zuma Speak.
Dlamini-Zuma is now being cheered on with great enthusiasm by the reckless Youth League rabble-rousers as their preferred presidential candidate.
This is the same Youth League that is increasingly being used as shock troops by Jacob Zuma and his camp, just like Robert Mugabe did.
Dlamini-Zuma is so at home in the Zuma camp and so part of its rotten political culture that she was happy to accept being protected by the state as if she were something more than just another private citizen.
Or did she perhaps ask for convoys of black cars and being surrounded by bodyguards because it makes her look more important and powerful?
It is clear that Dlamini-Zuma thinks Zuma’s three newly developed populist recipes will bring in the votes: state repeatedly that all land had been stolen by the whites and should be given back to black South Africans without paying for it; shout radical economic transformation at every opportunity without doing the difficult explaining about why it hasn’t worked so far; and blame white South Africans for all society’s ills.
It is also clear that she is not going to try very hard to get the support of the urban black elite and would focus more on the traditional and rural people, and that she would regularly remind people that she is a Zulu speaker. Just like the Other Zuma.
If Dlamini-Zuma is indeed going to be the new ANC president in December, the chances are much greater that Zuma would serve his full term until 2019.
We would have a Zuma as head of state and a Hyphenated Zuma as head of the ruling party.
Zuma must hope that this situation, and the fact that the mother of four of his children will then likely be the president of South Africa after 2019, would help him stay out of jail and keep his and his clan’s billions safe.
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