ANCWL NEC to formally endorse Dlamini-Zuma for president

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (File, Simon Maina, AFP)
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (File, Simon Maina, AFP)

Johannesburg - The ANC Women’s League’s National Executive Committee is expected to formally announce outgoing African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its preferred candidate for the party’s presidency.

According to a source privy to the deliberations, the committee has also put forward names for its preferred candidates for the party's other top members.

The decisions will be announced at the ANC’s December elective conference.
These included Defence Minister Nosivwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbethe, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and ANC deputy general secretary Jessie Duarte.

Dlamini-Zuma ‘proven and tested’

The source said these are the names that the league will be taking to branches to deliberate on.

“The women were saying NDZ [Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma] is a leader in her own right, proven and tested. To show that she was never [President] Jacob Zuma’s puppet, she supported former President Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane,” the source said.

Dlamini-Zuma is Jacob Zuma's ex-wife.

The ANCWL could not immediately be reached by News24 for comment on Saturday afternoon.

The NEC met over Friday and Saturday in Irene, Pretoria.

The Women’s League has previously pronounced that it will lobby for a woman to take the reins from Zuma at the ANC’s elective conference.

Bracing for a fierce fight

In June last year the league said it would not back down on their call that a female candidate should stand to be the next president of the ANC, following criticism from some quarters in the party that it is tradition for the deputy president to succeed the president.

“The women are saying that it is not the policy of the ANC that a deputy president must be president.  The debate on whether the country is ready for a woman president is patriarchal, as women have always been ready,” the source said.

The league is also bracing itself for a fierce fight for the 50/50 policy - as resolved by the ANC’s 2012 National Conference - to be applied to the party's top six positions.

Until now, the highest position occupied by a woman has been that of the national chairperson, currently occupied by Mbete, and deputy secretary generals that have included current incumbent Duarte, Sankie Mahanyele-Mthembu, Cheryl Carolus and Thenjiwe Mthintso.

Magashule gets the nod

However, the league want Free State chairperson Ace Magashule to replace current secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

“They want to come up with their own top six that includes Magashule as SG. They are solid on the Free State chair," the source said.

Dlamini-Zuma, who is widely seen to have the support of at least four provinces including the Free State and Mpumalanga, is expected to go up against Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa who announced on a Gauteng radio station late last year that “he is ready to lead”.  

He already received endorsement from trade union federation Cosatu.

The race to the elective conference has intensified, despite the party saying it is yet to open the succession debate, encouraging members to discuss qualities of leaders to take over, rather than using names.

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