Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who in 2017 contested the ANC presidential elections, caught many by surprise when she confirmed that she will once more enter the party’s presidential race.
The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) in KwaZulu-Natal has rejected rumours that it pushed Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to stand against President Cyril Ramaphosa in the upcoming ANC elective conference.
The provincial ANCWL — which in 2017 led Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign — said it had not discussed the matter of ANC candidates for the upcoming national conference when Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy was announced at the weekend.
ANCYL provincial task team (PTT) co-ordinator Fikile Masiko said:
“I can confirm that as the ANCWL provincial leadership we are yet to meet to discuss those kinds of matters. Also, it should be noted that the ANCWL in KZN will not adopt a top-down approach when it comes to the issue of conference candidates — we will be guided by our branches.”
Despite the fact that the provincial ANCWL leadership — which in the build-up to the recent ANC KZN elective conference pushed for the election of Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube as the party’s provincial chairperson — is known for backing women candidates, Masiko insisted that the league’s lower structures should be given the space to nominate their preferred candidates.
“As things stand, we have not taken a stance as the ANCWL provincial leadership.”
The ANCWL provincial leadership clarified its position on Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy amid perceptions that former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters are her main backers.
Zuma’s supporters, who are part of an ANC faction called the radical economic transformation (RET), recently held a series of meetings with the former president at his Nkandla homestead. Developments around Dlamini-Zuma appear to also have caught the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) — which backs Zuma — off guard.
ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele told The Witness that the KZN top brass will wait for the party’s branches to conclude their nomination processes before announcing its preferred candidates.
The stance of the ANC KZN PEC and ANCWL is at odds with that of PECs such as the ones in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West, which have already announced their preferred candidates.
Dlamini-Zuma’s ANC leadership race entrance coincided with a meeting between the ANC KZN provincial leaders and their Mpumalanga counterparts in Durban on Monday.
The meeting between the two ANC provinces is part of efforts by the two structures to influence the outcome of the ANC national conference.
While the party’s Mpumalanga delegation said the provincial leadership is open to suggestions by other provinces, it has already announced that it would be backing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second term bid.
Further, the ANC Mpumalanga leadership wants Justice Minister Ronald Lamola — who hails from Mpumalanga Province, to become the next party deputy president.
Dlamini-Zuma, along with former Health minister Zweli Mkhize — who is also eying a top position within the ANC — have significant support in KwaZulu-Natal.
However, the fact that the ANC KZN leadership is yet to officially endorse Dlamini-Zuma or Mkhize, means that not a single ANC PEC has given the duo the thumbs up.
According to ANC insiders, the party’s KZN leadership was previously prepared to forego the position of ANC president and deputy in return for other positions within the party’s top six national leadership structure.
A senior ANC member in KZN said:
“Unless something drastic happens between now and December, the unanimous position is that we should allow other provinces to have their say in as far as the position of ANC president and that of the deputy. In return, we are requesting these other provinces to support candidates from KZN for two positions within the ANC top six.”