Don’t judge Dlamini-Zuma by her surname


Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma should not be judged because of her surname but rather on her accomplishments. That was Fikile Mbalula’s plea to African National Congress (ANC) members and South Africans at large.

Mbalula said it was unfair that people were using her past marriage to President Jacob Zuma to assassinate her character. He added that her proximity to Zuma has nothing to do with her ambitions of leading the party.

He called on party members and the media to stop playing the person but rather focus on the game of politics. Mbalula was quick to point out that Dlamini-Zuma did not support Zuma during the 2007 Polokwane elective conference and was on former President Thabo Mbeki’s slate.

“She is not next to any dynasty. By having a Zuma surname doesn’t mean anything. Nkosazana was in opposition to Jacob Zuma in Polokwane. At that time, they didn’t see any dynasty, they saw a brave woman. She stood and lost but she never went out of the ANC. She is coming back and declared by the Women’s League but people are saying this is a dynasty. They are not playing politics but the person,” said Mbalula.

Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa are front-runners for the party’s top position heading into the elective conference that will be held at Nasrec from December 16-20. Some within the party are calling for a female to lead the organisation while others have been advocating for the unwritten rule of a deputy president ascending to the position of president.

This has caused a widespread debate with many believing that Zuma is orchestrating the election of Dlamini-Zuma to power to ensure he maintains a bit of control within the party. Mbalula has however rebuffed that and maintained that Dlamini -Zuma was in the race because she is a capable member of the party.

“She is a woman, an activist, she is not an affirmative action president,” he said.

Mbalula added that irrespective of who emerges victorious, the party has to be solid and more united.  He said the true character of a leader will be seen after the conference when they have to unite all the factions and build the party’s support base

“There will be divisions but we must contest because it’s a contested conference. We must respect that. We don’t agree necessarily on the issue of leadership but the ANC at the end must emerge. It is the ability of the leader post-conference to unite the organisation. If Nkosazana wins the conference and is wielding a spear of vengeance, that will not be the right thing to do. The uniting of the organisation should be something that happens post the conference,” said Mbalula.