A show of power was made over the weekend as the leagues of the ANC, including factions, pulled out all the stops in supporting presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma when she visited the Northern Cape.
Dlamini-Zuma was held up in Kimberley instead of rushing to Kuruman to a campaigning event planned by the ANC Women’s League on Friday (14/07).
The snubbed Kuruman event was instead led by the leagues’ president, Bathabile Dlamini, who made her voice clear in support of Dlamini-Zuma for president.
Dlamini-Zuma was reportedly invited by the Francis Baard Region, who made their choice public that they endorse her as their next ANC president following the seventh provincial conference later in December.
This follows the province’s announcement at the Colesberg conference, where it was announced that the province endorses Cyril Ramaphosa as president.
Another ANC faction organised a clearly similar rally dubbed the O.R. Tambo Games and Lecture, where other, supposedly supportive, regions would attend, followed by live performances by DJs.
The event at Mayibuye saw Dlamini-Zuma deliver a Freedom Charter lecture to supporters.
According to a Francis Baard regional executive member, the other faction stood no chance competing against the Francis Baard region’s event, due to them having the largest number of branches in the province.
Francis Baard remains the biggest region and is supported by John Taolo Gaetsewe and the majority of Pixley ka Seme, including the ANC Youth League.
The chairperson of the Francis Baard Region, Thapelo Dithebe, conveyed their love to Dlamini-Zuma on behalf of the branches, in line with support behind a female president.
“When we heard that the province has chosen their candidate, we said: ‘No, that is minus Francis Baard.’
“We then said we will call a special gathering of Francis Baard to come and convey the message to the whole branches of the ANC that we cannot wait anymore (for a female president).
“It is now or never,” emphasised Dithebe.
Making the Women’s League voice heard, Bathabile Dlamini elaborated on how many other choices Dlamini-Zuma had instead of choosing to be part of the struggle.
She lauded her for her deep understanding of oppression and not just being a women, but belonging to the generation of Steve Biko and being a doctor by profession.
“She has a golden hand of making a big change wherever she goes.
“She was one of the first few women ministers who was appointed by Madiba.
“Unlike others who just woke up today to think that there must be economic transformation, she knew long ago about economic transformation,” said Dlamini.
“She is a leader of the Women’s League and has always been our leader who was part of the struggle of women’s emancipation.
“We want a women who is down to earth and has always listened to the ANC.”
“When we checked the membership of the ANC last year, we found out that more than 65% are women and they want to make us their voting cows,” said Dlamini, emphasising how the party has always been dominated by women.
“The time has come for the ANC to be led by a woman, as it is reactionary to say that women have always led in the ANC and have been in the trenches.
“Like Dorothy Nyembes, Francis Baard and more, we have chosen the best among the best and a hard worker.
“If we are managers at our homes, why are we not good for the country?”
Meanwhile Dlamini-Zuma confirmed her acceptance of the nomination and emphasised that it is high time for the ANC to look among the women for a good leader, because “we (women) are in fact the majority in the ANC membership”.
She highlighted the challenges that women tend to face more than men, particulary black women, who “suffer tripple oppression through race, class and gender”.
She pointed out the continuous racial practices that are still in existence in the country.
“According to the law there is no racism, but in practice racism exists.
“Super exploitation of workers is still a huge challenge in this country and it needs to be addressed by the ANC.”