The debate over who should succeed Zuma as ANC president heating up

Last night, the women’s league officially endorsed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its preferred candidate.

FILE: Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – As the African National Congress (ANC) prepares to celebrate its 105th birthday, the ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini says the league wants next year’s 8 January statement to be delivered by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the new president of the party.

Last night, the women’s league officially endorsed Dlamini-Zuma as its preferred candidate.

The league says it made the decision with its eyes wide open and after careful consideration.

Dlamini-Zuma is the outgoing chair of the African Union and is seen as a frontrunner in the race as is ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Her endorsement by the women’s league is the first for a specific candidate by an ANC division.

Zuma's second term at the helm of the ANC comes to an end in December when the governing party will pick a new president.

ANCWL Secretary General Moekgo Matuba says, “We know that she’s capable of leading South Africa to address the challenges that we’ve, of being poverty, unemployment and also issues inequality. And we view her as somebody who has grown within the ranks of the African National Congress.”

The party will hold a policy conference later in December where it’s expected to select a new leader.

The party’s Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has previously reprimanded the league for entering the succession debate prematurely.

Dlamini says they have made up their minds about who must take over from Zuma and says the league will now mobilise other structures to support Dlamini-Zuma.

“The last NEC said we must start negotiating and how do we negotiate without a mandate? What will I say to other structures when we negotiate as the women’s league?”

Dlamini says while she agrees the nomination process is not open yet, the ANCWL was left with no choice but to let its choice be known.

But Mantashe says the ANCWL is breaking with ANC processes to go public in this way.

Mantashe seems slightly frustrated this morning. He says the main point of this entire event is to make the point about unity in action for the anc.

And now he says the women’s league has jumped the gun play sound.

“They’re putting their candidate on their running prematurely. Even if we say it is ill-discipline, that name is out there. But the reality of the matter is undermining the processes of the organisation is not acceptable.”

But Mantashe also says he believes 2017 will be a good year for the ANC.

He says the party is working on its problems and that they will still be able to make their point about unity today.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)