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Durban - Newly appointed KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, says South Africa is ready for a female president, and has called for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to be next in line after Jacob Zuma.
Nkonyeni was speaking at a function in Durban on Wednesday night hosted by Islamic business platform, Minara Chamber of Commerce, to discuss economic development and transformation.
Asked by the Daily News if she agreed with recent statements by the ANC Women’s League that the country was not ready for a female president, Nkonyeni replied: “Not at all. I think we have many women who are more than capable as leaders. In fact I believe that Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma should be our country’s next president. She is definitely capable of leading our country.”
Dlamini Zuma is the league’s former leader and heads the African Union.
The ANC Women’s League has come under widespread criticism from opposition parties for comments on the lack of women leadership:
“Nearly 20 years since our freedom, it is sad to see that some women in government have internalised such an inferiority complex,” said AgangSA’s Women’s Organiser, Vanessa Hani.
At the function on Wednesday night, prominent KZN businessman Razak Moosa of Willowton Oils warned that South Africa would lose more foreign investment due to labour issues and ongoing strike action.
He was referring to recent comments by carmaker BMW that it was putting the brakes on its expansion plans due to unstable labour conditions as a result of strike action.
“Other countries on the continent are welcoming foreign investors and are offering many incentives to ensure the opportunities are conducive to investment and job creation, and that bottlenecks are removed to make it a successful partnership.
“During my recent visit to Zimbabwe, without even arranging a meeting, their trade minister heard I was in town and insisted that we meet. While here it’s almost impossible to get a meeting with a government minister or even an MEC, Moosa said.
“Our government should be doing more to work with businesses in removing the obstacles to development, and this includes addressing labour issues. We are 20 years into our democracy and unless this is addressed we are going to have major problems.
“Already the EU, our top importer of fruit, has turned away our citrus products due to black spots on them, which came down to poor handling and points to a labour issue.
“All this contributes to less interest in South Africa and fails to attract foreign investment. Those in the top echelons of the unions are not the ones suffering during strikes, it’s the poor workers who are suffering as a result and it’s time for government to act,” said Moosa, adding that his company employed 2 000 workers who had not gone on strike since 1991.
Leading Muslim businesses at last night’s round table discussion also criticised government for ”failing to recognise the contribution made by Muslim businesses in social empowerment projects”.
“The South African Muslim community feels ignored and marginalised,” said Minara’s president, Solly Suleman.
“As businesses, when we are called on to assist we do so willingly. However, government leaders fail to engage with us when called on to do so.
“Our concerns are not addressed and we find that there are barriers to communicating directly with them.
“As the Muslim business community we feel that government is simply not accessible or approachable, despite our commitment and readiness to work with them.
“Even when we do get an appointment, many don’t even bother to show up at meetings,” Suleman said.