Zuma endorses Dlamini-Zuma and raises his hand for top ANC post

Former president Jacob Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma sing and dance during the ANC's fifth national policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on July 5, 2017. Photo: Masi Losi/The Times/Gallo Images
Former president Jacob Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma sing and dance during the ANC's fifth national policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on July 5, 2017. Photo: Masi Losi/The Times/Gallo Images


Former president Jacob Zuma has reiterated his support for the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for ANC president.

In a late-night media statement, Zuma dispelled rumours about his leadership preferences for the upcoming 55th national conference in December.

“The candidate that we supported in 2017 at the 54th national conference remains the most capable to lead the ANC, given her track record in the movement and government, leadership capabilities and qualities and her understanding and knowledge of the ANC,” said Zuma.

“I have heard some few comrades raising some issues with regards to her, but unfortunately, they all dismally failed to present a better candidate with better credentials than hers, except those who have a lot of money.

Unfortunately, it is not those that have a lot money that counts. On the contrary, it is those who have the capabilities to help lead the ANC and are trustworthy to the principles and policies of the ANC.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Zuma has pronounced his support for Dlamini-Zuma.

He reportedly expressed support for his ex-wife’s candidacy for the ANC presidency during a meeting at his residence in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, which was attended by several members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) earlier this month.

READ: The ANC presidential race frontrunners

Dlamini-Zuma is a late starter to the contest, having announced her availability only early in September. Throwing her hat into the ring came as a surprise.

City Press reported that even though she started late, Dlamini-Zuma cannot be dismissed, as she is highly regarded in the party and may fit the bill for those campaigning for a woman president as the party pushes harder for gender parity.

READ: Ramaphosa and ANC unpopularity worse than Zuma's

However, outside of KwaZulu-Natal, it is hard to see where her support will come from. All her key allies who pushed her campaign in 2017, including Supra Mahumapelo, Ace Magashule and David Mabuza, no longer hold the same influence they did then, when they could simply instruct their provincial structures who to nominate and vote for.

READ: ANC North West conference outcome disputed in court

Even in KwaZulu-Natal, where most of her support is expected to come from, she goes up against former health minister Zweli Mkhize, who has invested time over the past few months to consolidate his support.

ANC chairperson contestation

In the statement released shortly before midnight on Monday, Zuma announced that he was approached by branches to contest the position of ANC national chairperson.

Others in the race for the ANC chairperson position include the incumbent Gwede Mantashe, deputy finance minister David Masondo, who is also the head of thr OR Tambo School of Leadership, and ANC Limpopo provincial chairperson Stanley Mathabatha.

Zuma said he would avail himself for the position and be guided by the branches.

“I also wish to confirm that I have been approached by a number of cadres to make myself available for the position of national chairperson of the ANC, to contribute in the rebuilding of the organisation and to provide direction.

“I have indicated that I will be guided by the branches of the ANC and that I will not refuse such a call should they deem it necessary for me to serve the organisation again at that level or any other.”

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