ANC is ready to be led by a woman, says NDZ

Former AU head is gearing up to contest for governing party's throne

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Image: Gallo Images/OJ Koloti

ANC presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says it is high time her party was led by a woman and that this would translate into broader freedoms for women.

“For women to be free, they must be [free] in all areas of human endeavour. There should be no glass ceiling that is hindering them.

“Women are also [in] the majority. Everything must reflect that. I think it is high time, it is 110 years of the ANC, that women must also be at the helm of the ANC. We must take gender equality seriously. That is probably why we are not a winning nation,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

She added that though the ANC’s policy was to create a non-racial and non-sexist society, the emphasis had been on non-racial and not enough on non-sexism.

NDZ, as she is fondly called in ANC circles, used the SABC interview to tackle a variety of issues, including generational mix, the role of women, the horse-trading for positions, possibility of coalitions, divisions within the party and why she chose to avail herself.

Dlamini-Zuma, who will be six weeks shy of her 74th birthday when the ANC goes to its elective conference in December, said she had accepted nomination because “a lot still needs to be done. I will never refuse to be part of a collective because it is not a one-person show”.

This will be the second successive conference at which she would be challenging President Cyril Ramaphosa for the number one office of the governing party. Dlamini-Zuma lost to Ramaphosa by 179 votes in 2017.

Dlamini-Zuma criticised the “step-aside” rule and the slow pace of the criminal justice system for unfairly presuming the guilt of those charged.

“The country’s laws say you are innocent until proven guilty. Then the law of the ANC almost says you are guilty until proven innocent. But even that step-aside, the problem with it is that you step aside because you are charged. Three years on, your trial has not started. What kind of justice is that?” she said.

Dlamini-Zuma said the ANC should not stand idle while rights of its members to compete for positions were being restricted by the lethargic criminal justice system, because this created an impression that the aim of the court processes was to eliminate contenders rather than the pursuit of justice.

“Even now, as we are going to conference, there are people who have been charged for more than a year. They have not really appeared in court for trial. That is what makes people think maybe it was just a way of making sure that they are not taking part [at the conference].

"The SG [secretary-general Ace Magashule] is one of them. But there are others.  I am not saying they are guilty or not guilty. I am just saying justice must be done. It is not justice what is happening," she sad.

“Why do you arrest first and investigate later? Why do you arrest first and then investigate for three years? By the time you arrest, you should be sure that at least there is [a] case to answer,” said the former African Union president.

Dlamini-Zuma said Eskom could “still be fixed and run as an SOE”.

Admitting that she did not know enough about the challenges at Eskom to offer a diagnosis, Dlamini-Zuma backed the use of nuclear power and stressed that SA should not abandon coal, but instead should find innovative ways to “clean it”.

“Look at what is happening in Europe now. When they can’t get gas from wherever, they go back to coal. We should not abandon coal. We should use it but young people must innovate on how to clean coal.”

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