Durban - Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the former wife of President Jacob Zuma, who is currently the chairwoman of the African Union, has been nominated by the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal to stand for the party’s presidency next year.
All that now remains is for a formal request to be made to Dlamini Zuma to stand for election when the ANC holds its elective conference in December 2017.
This is after at least three of the league’s regions in KZN - Lower South Coast, Harry Gwala and Far North - threw their weight behind Dlamini Zuma’s nomination for the number one post in the ruling party.
“All three regions said they preferred the ANC to elect Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the president of the movement,” the league provincial secretary, Thanduxolo Sabelo, said on Monday.
“They cited issues of unity, her strong leadership credentials and her success wherever she has been deployed as reasons for their nomination.”
He also said the three regions would now lobby ANC branches to nominate the AU leader, who could become the first woman to lead the 104-year-old liberation movement. If the ANC continues to gain majority support after the 2019 elections, she could become the first woman president of South Africa.
“They (ANCYL branches) do not have voting status, but they have an opportunity to influence the ANCYL and the mother body to vote for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma,” said Sabelo.
“They have mandated the provincial executive committee of the youth structure to lobby the national executive committee of the Youth League to meet Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to ask her to stand for the presidency.”
Political analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe, said it was a coincidence that the first official nomination came from KwaZulu-Natal, her home province.
“The issue of a woman candidate has been part of national discussion for a some time now,” he said.
Seepe also said while the so-called Premier League - chairmen of Free State, Mpumalanga and North West - had not pronounced on her, it should be understood that there would be lobby groups within the ANC that would make their voices known.
“The Youth League has decided to make its position clear. It is about making the debate public,” he said.
Seepe added it was an open secret that there were lobby groups in the ruling party, but they lobbied internally.
“The ANC needs to rise up and say that there must be proper contestation so leaders can be scrutinised.”
According to Seepe, Dlamini Zuma should be judged on her capabilities, skills and experience.
“She is someone who has been in government for a long time, having served with presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. She is the longest serving minister, having served in, among others Health, Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs.”
Seepe added that her stint at the AU gave her experience on the continent. Overall she had more experience in government than Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Both are front-runners for the top post when Jacob Zuma steps down.
The ANC Youth League and the ANC Women’s League have actively been campaigning for her to become the party and the country’s first woman president.
Already National Union of Mineworkers, South African Democratic Teachers Union and Police, Prison Civil Rights Union have been vocal that the the ANC deputy should take over the party’s leadership next year.
Their view is backed by the SACP.
Cosatu has yet to decide on who it preferred to lead the ANC.