This was said at a gala dinner which was addressed by Dlamini-Zuma in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday night at an event organised by the Msunduzi Municipality (Pietermaritzburg). Dlamini-Zuma delivered the keynote address under the theme “doing business in Africa”.
Provincial secretary Zuma said the province was eagerly awaiting the green light from the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) for nominations for party leader later this year.
“She is not campaigning, otherwise she would be moving from one branch to the next lobbying for support,” said Zuma.
Zuma further warned that no discussion about the future of South Africa could take place without consulting KwaZulu-Natal and that any individual who undermined the province would feel its might in the December conference.
“KwaZulu-Natal will have the biggest delegation attending the policy conference in June and this province will once again lead the biggest delegation to the elective conference in December. Do not undermine KZN,” said Zuma of the province which has the highest representation of delegates at ANC national conferences, and thus the most voting power.
Delivering a message of support for the event, the ANC Women’s League’s Lungile Gabela said they were clear about how they would vote. “We are voting as a province and we are clear that we want to be led by a woman,” said Gabela.
She lashed out at leaders who she accused of openly campaigning, while the ruling party had issued an instruction against this. “We see comrades attending prayer services in tents and then make statements thereafter. Why are they allowed to do this?” questioned Gabela.
Meanwhile, Dlamini-Zuma, the former AU Commission chairperson, said that for Africa to develop and grow into a prosperous continent, some areas needed attending to swiftly. She cited skills development in the field of science and technology as one of the pillars for a prospective future.
“We have to deal with this paradox in which Africa is rich, yet Africans are poor. We need to take control of our economies and lead the process of transformation,” said Dlamini Zuma. She cited the banking sector as one of the areas that needed transformation.
She stressed the need for the ruling party’s rank and file to protect leaders, especially those deployed in government, as they had a mandate to fulfil. “We must protect our ministers because they are there to do what we asked them to do,” said Dlamini-Zuma in reference to the call for radical economic transformation.
The gala dinner was attended by the ANC’s top brass from the province and included members of the provincial cabinet, including Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane and Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, while leading figures from the business and religious communities also attended the event.